Jerry Blevins could end up being the Mets closer at some point this season, and he’s actually excited about that possibility.
Back in December, one of the first things manager Mickey Callaway talked about changing with his new club was the pitchers’ roles in the bullpen. Over the years, Callaway hasn’t been a fan of the idea of a closer and the fact that he – who is usually your best bullpen arm – shouldn’t come into the game before the 9th inning or if a save situation isn’t on the line. Instead, for the 2018, he’s going to bring in the best pitcher possible for each scenario, regardless of the inning or score.
This new take on managing the bullpen can seem exciting and logical to the average fan, but what about the guys that will actually have to perform in these situations? Well, we know one of them is really looking forward to the possibility.
On Tuesday, Jerry Blevins spoke with Newsday and was asked about the changing bullpen roles. Would it be weird to come in towards the backend of the game or earlier than he expects?
"“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."
Blevins instead really enjoys the fact that he can be used in several different ways out of the pen this season.
"“Nobody’s ever going to mistake me, no matter how many saves I accumulate, as a typical closer. Andrew Miller, he was the guy — is he a closer, is he a setup guy? He’s so versatile. But nobody’s going to mistake me for Aroldis Chapman.’’"
Thankfully, Blevins has always been a guy that can get loose rather quickly and can focus on just one or two batters per outing. It’ll be interesting to see how a guy like Familia adjusts to these changes though as he’s been in that closer’s role for a couple of years now.
For guys that are used to only coming in with the game on the line late in the ballgame, it might be harder for them to perform at a high level in the 6th or 7th innings.
Either way, 2018 will be a big year for change. The Mets will have a pretty solid bullpen going into the year, so if it’s managed properly, it can be a strength. Let’s hope Callaway does just that.