As talked about by Mets manager Mickey Callaway, the team will deploy a closer-by-committee approach for the 2018 season. Jeurys Familia, when healthy, was the hands-down closer for the team from 2015-2017.
Mets reliever Jerry Blevins is one of the pitchers likely to get some chances late in the game this season.
This is what the lefty-specialist had to say about the idea of closing games:
“The inning doesn’t really matter, it’s always the situation. I feel like a lot of times that I’ve come in since I’ve been a Met, the game’s on the line anyway.”
“You’ve got bases loaded with one out and you’ve got Daniel Murphy up. To me, that’s the game there anyway, so whether it’s in the ninth inning or the sixth inning, I think the leverage situation is always the same. If you want to give me some save [opportunities], I’m OK with that, too. I just want to do my job whenever they want me to do it.”
Judging from this, he seems to really be perfectly fine with the idea of an advanced role in the bullpen and coming to the ballpark not knowing what point in the game he will pitch in.
The 34-year old also seems to believe that he is already prepared to handle such a role as he seems to take the same mindset onto the field every time he pitches.
He also touched on his willingness to prepare for such a role as well in which he responded as such:
“There’s a reason why I’m successful against lefties. It’s because that’s what my job has been. Left-on-left is a real thing. It’s a different approach. But also, if you want me to get righties out, give me some time in the offseason to prepare for that. And I’ll focus on that.”
“Career-wise, they’ve asked me in those big moments, when it really counts, is to get lefthanded hitters out, so my whole focus has always been getting the big lefty out in their lineup. If you want my job to change, let me know. I’ll adjust my focus.’’
So while he is clearly aware of what his responsibilities have been limited to in the past, he is certainly willing to focus enough on how to get right-handed hitters out to make himself more usable in the later innings of the ballgame.
Blevins was arguably the most effective reliever on the team last season as he went 6-0 in 75 games (49 innings) while registering a 2.94 ERA, 1.367 WHIP, 69 strikeouts, and a 3.12 FIP.