Mets’ plan for Blevins, bullpen flying under the radar
Evaluating Blevins, alternative options for the Mets bullpen in 2017
There are obviously bigger fish to fry so to speak for the New York Mets in the upcoming winter months. What will ultimately happen with Yoenis Cespedes and Bartolo Colon are the two main questions on tap. There is another underrated question involving another free agent: will the Mets bring Jerry Blevins back?
In his first full season with the Mets after being hurt for most of 2015, Blevins was 4-2 with a 2.79 ERA in 73 relief appearances. The 33-year old has enjoyed some of his better individual numbers in a Mets uniform. That included setting a new mark for strikeouts per nine innings (11.1). Overall, it would be fair to say he’s been dependable.
The Mets have their eighth and ninth inning sealed up, but the bridge has gone through some transition. Blevins normally gives Terry Collins a reliable option against lefties. While he’s been strong in his career in that department, Blevins did allow opposing lefties to hit .255 which is 40 points higher than his career average. Meanwhile, the Mets as a unit were 18th in opponent batting average against southpaws.
Point being, it wasn’t Blevins’ best season. Yet he still was a fairly solid asset to the pen and the Mets need to have a solution going forward. There aren’t many reliable options currently on the roster against lefty bats that lie in the bridge to Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia.
However if the Mets attack this situation, there needs to be a plan in place. Maybe it involves keeping Blevins and adding another piece from the left side. Or, maybe it involves a more expanded role for Josh Smoker next season.
When you look at the market this coming offseason, not much jumps off the page, excluding Aroldis Chapman who would change the look and roles of any bullpen among arrival. The one name to keep an ear out for is Boone Logan. Pitching in Colorado, he has lowered his FIP each season since 2014. He was also fifth among all relievers in opponent batting average and 15th in slugging percentage against lefties in 2016.
Blevins has been a solid situational pitcher just stripping the numbers away and going by the eye test. If you add the numbers in, Blevins excelled in some facets including a .167 opponent batting average and a 0.73 ERA in 47 batters faced with runners in scoring position last season.
I personally would like to see Blevins back and I believe most Mets fans would like the same. Beyond the obvious, this is going to be an under the radar storyline to follow.