With the Mets playing simply for pride and their 2019 draft slot in the month of September, many eyes in the organization are likely already shifting their focus to the offseason, which could be one of the most crucial in the franchise’s recent memory.
There are many important decisions to be made such as picking their next GM, deciding to extend or trade some of the starting pitchers, determining where to add a bat in the lineup, and revamping the bullpen.
While it by no means solves the last need completely, the Mets could make it easy on themselves and simply bring back Jerry Blevins to reprise the team’s role as the team’s lefty specialist.
In the first half of the season, the idea of doing this probably seemed almost preposterous as Blevins had a 5.01 ERA and 1.54 WHIP as his curveball was not dipping down enough and being left over the middle of the plate, which any MLB hitter can often take advantage of.
However, in 17 second half appearances, Blevins has righted the ship, with a 1.42 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, and 15 strikeouts in 12 2/3 innings pitched.
Yesterday was another fine example of his second-half resurgence, as he recorded two strikeouts while only walking one batter. Blevins earned the victory for his shutout performance as the Mets scored in the top of the 11th inning. His ERA for the season also dropped to 3.75 on the year.
The 34-year-old’s success in the second half does beg the question of whether or not the team should choose to retain him in the offseason.
Personally, I would say the answer to that depends largely on the price tag. If the market dictates that he is worth the same $7 million that he is making this season.
Blevins inconsistency this season does not warrant that salary, especially for a LOOGY who, despite his recent success, still sports a .292 average against left-handers.
That being said, Blevins is not much different than the type of left-hander the Mets would pursue in the event they chose to look outside the organization, in all likelihood. They would probably look into the Jorge De La Rosa, Robbie Ross, Marc Rzepczynski-tier if they were to do so.
It would also buy the Mets some time to see if Daniel Zamora is actually capable of handling the role long-term and while he has shown some promise with eight strikeouts in five innings of work resulting from a nasty slider, he has also allowed three runs in that same span.
If the price is right, the Mets might be best off banking on Blevins’ second-half resurgence and hoping that 2019 looks more like his 2016 (2.79 ERA) and 2017 (2.94 ERA) seasons.