It’s no secret that the Mets would like to bring back Jerry Blevins, but they are hesitant to meet Blevins’ asking price of a 3-4 year contract. With a little over a month left before pitchers and catchers report to spring training, many of the remaining free agents’ asking prices may begin to go down. As a result, the Mets seem more likely to be able to re-sign Jerry Blevins now than they did about a month ago.
Blevins had one of his best seasons of his 9 year career in 2016. He posted a career-best 2.79 ERA, with 52 strikeouts in 42 innings pitched. Additionally, the lefty specialist held righties to a lower batting average, at just .182, than lefties, who hit .255. However, lefties had nearly twice as many at-bats against Blevins than righties. Of the 4 homers Blevins allowed all season, 3 were hit by righties. Lefties also had twice as many strikeouts against Blevins than righties. Judging by these statistics, the batting average splits against Blevins seems to mask just how effective he truly was against left-handed hitters.
If the Mets manage to re-sign Blevins this offseason, I could see him starting the season as the set-up man for Addison Reed. Blevins made great strides last season against right-handed batters, which may encourage Terry Collins use have Blevins pitch entire innings in relief rather than to just use him as a lefty specialist. The Mets used Pedro Feliciano in a similar way during his tenure as a Met from 2006-2010. Like Blevins, Feliciano was initially a lefty specialist, but began pitching entire innings when he showed that he was able to get righties out as well.
I find it somewhat surprising that Blevins hasn’t been signed yet, considering all the big contracts many other relievers have been getting this offseason. This could very well be because many other major league teams that may be interested in Blevins aren’t willing to sign him for more than 2 years. With the offseason dragging out, the remaining free agents may be more willing to lower their asking price. In Blevins’ case, he may go from asking for a 3-4 year deal to a 1-2 year deal, which the Mets would likely be willing to offer him.
As far as competition is concerned for the Mets to re-sign Blevins, one team that I can think of is the New York Yankees. However, it seems that the Yankees are a little more interested in a lefty specialist that they have had experience using before in Boone Logan. While the Mets have also expressed interest in Logan, I believe that they would rather have Blevins, who has been a strong clubhouse presence for the team, than Logan.
As each day goes by without Blevins signing a contract, it seems more likely that the Mets may be able to re-sign him. If I were Sandy Alderson right now, I would get in touch with Blevins’ agents and discuss a possible 2 year deal, maybe with a third year option. Maybe Alderson can have the discussion with Jerry and his agents over coffee at Tom’s Restaurant, better known as Monk’s Cafe on “Seinfeld.”