Sandy Alderson had quite a busy day yesterday. First, he signed left-handed pitcher Tom Gorzelanny to a minor league deal, providing a safety net as a lefty specialist in case they couldn’t sign Blevins or Craig Breslow. Shortly after that, Alderson brought back Fernando Salas in a one-year, $3 million deal. Finally, Alderson brought back Jerry Blevins in a $6 million deal, with a second year option. These moves appear to have stabilized the Mets bullpen.
The 34-year-old Gorzelanny has struggled over the last 2 seasons, including allowing 7 runs in 3 innings of work over the 7 games he appeared in for Cleveland last season. However, from 2012-2014, he pitched to a 3.13 ERA, with 8.5 Ks per nine innings, and a ground-ball rate of 43.5% over 178.1 innings. Over parts of 12 seasons in the majors, he has held lefties to a batting line of .229/.302/.356.
Salas was traded to the Mets in late August last season, and pitched very well for them in the roll off the seventh-inning man. In 17.1 innings pitched with the Mets, Salas allowed just 4 runs, pitching to a 2.08 ERA. He also posted 19 strike-outs and didn’t walk a single batter. His role in the beginning of the season will likely be to pitch in the 8th inning, setting things up for Addison Reed to close until Jeurys Familia returns from his inevitable suspension. When Familia returns, Salas would likely go back to pitching in the 7th inning while Reed pitches the 8th.
I’m most happy about the Jerry Blevins signing. He was a solid reliever for the Mets in 2016, posting a 2.79 ERA over 42 innings and a career-high 73 appearances. He had 11.1 Ks per nine innings and a 45.8% ground-ball rate. Perhaps the biggest reason why I wanted him back was due to the fact that he was also effective against right-handed hitters in 2016. This may allow for him to be used as a reliever to pitch a whole inning rather than just a lefty-specialist.
With these signings, I would think that Alderson is finished making any major league signings for the rest of the offseason. This offseason proved to be a very successful one for Alderson. Although he was unable to trade Jay Bruce, he did manage to bring back Yoenis Cespedes, Neil Walker, Jerry Blevins, and Fernando Salas. The only free agent that seemed to have gotten away from him was the incomparable Bartolo Colon, who signed with the Braves, where he would get the opportunity to start. Still, the Mets starting rotation and bullpen now look very stacked. The way the team looks right now, they may be able to reach the playoffs for the third consecutive season in for the first time in franchise history, and maybe even reach and win the World Series.