Jerry Blevins was very effective for the Mets in 2016. While that helped get the Mets to the Wild Card game, it also might have set his price out of the Mets’ range this offseason. With other lefty relievers like Brett Cecil getting big contracts, the 33 year-old free agent has set his sights on a three year deal and it looks like he might get it.
Other options on the free agent market are subpar, and after the failed signing of Antonio Bastardo last offseason, Sandy Alderson might be wary of bringing in anyone else especially for more than one year. So, the question remains, how will Blevins’ role be filled if he can’t be resigned?
The Mets have two lefties right now that could possibly replace him, those being Josh Edgin and Josh Smoker. Blevins pitched to a 2.79 ERA in 73 games last season, so they will have big shoes to fill.
Edgin, 30, appeared in 16 games at the end of 2016 after returning from Tommy John surgery. In those games he allowed six earned runs in 10.1 innings. In a very small sample size, though, he fared better against lefties who hit .235 against him in 17 at bats compared to righties’ .300 average in 20 at bats.
Smoker, 28, has a larger yet still small sample size, featuring opposite splits. He fared much better against righties who hit .200 against him in 35 at bats while lefties mashed him, hitting .360 in 25 at bats. However, in 165 minor league games, lefties have hit .258 against him which is lower but still far too high for a LOOGY.
In looking for a lefty specialist, however, the Mets could have one in Josh Edgin. He has good stuff, but hasn’t pitched consistently in a long time as he is coming off Tommy John surgery. The Mets could see how he does in spring training and bank on him being the lefty specialist going forward, and though that seems a distinct possibility now, there is a lot of offseason left; Sandy Alderson could have a few tricks up his sleeve.
Despite his reputation, Blevins was not a lefty specialist by any means in 2016. While righties batted only .182/.266/.345, lefties managed a .255/.313/.324 line against him. Edgin and Smoker would be asked to be the LOOGYs in the Mets 2017 bullpen even though Blevins did not perform as that in 2016.