Former New York Met and free agent Jerry Blevins could provide even more stability to what is easily the New York Yankees’ strong suit.From the middle relief to the nasty duo in the back end, the New York Yankees bullpen may be better than it was a year ago.
Yes, even without Andrew Miller, New York’s pen should be much improved from top to bottom — especially with Aroldis Chapman back in the mix.
We’ve already covered that, but there is one hole to consider and that’s the lack of a proven, dependable lefty specialist to help bridge the gap from the questionable rotation to Dellin Betances and Chapman.
They currently have terrific righty relievers to help supplement the rotation’s 5.6 innings pitched per start in 2016 in Tyler Clippard, Adam Warren and others.
In terms of lefty specialists, however, Tommy Layne and Richard Bleier are the only two lefties (obviously, other than Chapman) who make up the ‘pen for the 2017 Yankees.
Layne has always been stellar against left-handed hitters (.177 career BAA) but Bleier is a 29-year old who has played in 241 minor league games over nine seasons and just 23 at the major league level.
Sure, he didn’t allow a single home run and just six hits to lefty batters in the show, but he’s not a guy you want to depend on to supplement a rotation nor feel comfortable calling on to strikeout a big lefty with two outs and the bases loaded.
That’s where former New York Mets’ reliever and current free agent, Jerry Blevins comes into play.
Last season, Blevins was one of just 23 pitchers in the National League to appear in over 70 games and was one of only five southpaws to do so.
In addition to his durability, he led the list of lefties in ERA (2.79), home runs allowed (four), walks allowed (15) and was second in opponent’s OPS (.627) and slugging percentage (.331).
More importantly, Blevins surrendered just one home run to lefty hitters in 2016 while maintaining a tremendous career opponent’s .588 OPS and .214/.266/.322 slash line vs lefties.
So, it would be wise to ponder the thought of bringing on the 33-year old on perhaps a one-year deal to promote even more flexibility in the ‘pen, but his asking price may be a drawback.
According to NJ Advance Media, Blevins is on a quest for a for a three-year deal worth approximately $5 million a season, a tad more than he earned last season with the Mets ($4 million).
That’s not much to throw at a reliever with the results that the former 17th round pick by the Cubs’ has had but for the Yankees, a team that has already exceeded the luxury tax threshold, $5 million for three years may be more than their willing to offer.
Blevins, while not “game changing,” is a reliable arm (or at least, more reliable vs lefties than anyone else) who can further shorten the game for the unbalanced rotation while enhancing what is surely the strongest part of this club.
Spotrac estimates his market value to be able to wheel in a deal worth $4 million over a single season. Certainly, Blevins would like to get a multi-year deal but if New York can bring his asking price down to the ideal level, a rather pleasing deal for general manager Brian Cashman could be made.