The Milwaukee Brewers could be looking to shore up their bullpen this winter. Could former New York Mets reliever Jerry Blevins make sense for the Crew to add to its vaunted bullpen?
The Brewers have been lacking in the left handed pitching department for several years now. They’re going to need to look outside the organization now for an influx of lefty talent on this roster. Josh Hader is a dominant option, but outside of that, Dan Jennings and Xavier Cedeno are the only other lefties on this Milwaukee Brewers roster.
Both Jennings and Cedeno however are non-tender candidates this year. While it’s unlikely both end up becoming free agents, there’s a decent chance one of them is let go. In that case, the Brewers will likely require another left handed reliever. So who could they get?
Jerry Blevins in 2018
For a couple year stretch with the Mets, Jerry Blevins was one of the better left handed relievers in the National League. In 2016, Blevins posted a 2.79 ERA with a 11.1 K/9 ratio. Then in 2017, he posted a 2.94 ERA with a 12.7 K/9.
2018 was a different story for Blevins however. Like most of the Mets outside of Jacob deGrom, this year was a struggle for Blevins as he finished with a 4.85 ERA and a 8.6 K/9. Both those numbers are way worse than what he showed over the previous two seasons.
Blevins, 35, has not been a workhorse reliever over the past couple seasons. He hasn’t surpassed 50 innings in a season since 2014, but has made 60+ appearances in each of the past three seasons. He’s durable, but he’s not in the game for long.
While one might think that Blevins is just a LOOGY in that case, he basically is, but he has reverse splits. Blevins is better against right handed hitters than lefties.
In 2018, righties had a .193 batting average and .682 OPS against Blevins in 88 at-bats. On the other hand, lefties had a .264 batting average and .786 OPS against Blevins in 72 at-bats.
Blevins isn’t a normal LOOGY, which makes him an interesting option for the Milwaukee Brewers or any team that is thinking about pursuing him.
What Could Blevins Cost?
Given the general lack of quality left handed relievers on the market, Blevins should be able to get a major league deal somewhere. But after his poor 2018 season and with his age, he likely won’t command a multi-year deal.
If the Milwaukee Brewers can sign Blevins to a one year deal, probably for less than $5 million, it’s definitely a deal worth looking at.
Whether Blevins down 2018 season was due to his age and the regression that comes with it or just because of the changes in New York and the fact that everyone on the Mets struggled this year isn’t fully known.
The bullpen market has been getting more and more expensive over the past couple years, and with the strength of this Brewers team being the bullpen, it’s important to continue to supplement that group, which is why Blevins makes some sense.
The key to repeating as division champions is to build on the strengths of the roster and shore up any weak points. Signing Blevins would be building on the Crew’s big strength.