New York Mets: Jerry Blevins is no longer a left-handed specialist
By Tim Boyle
New York Mets reliever Jerry Blevins has struggled this year. It’s time they stop using him exclusively against lefties.
For years, New York Mets southpaw Jerry Blevins has been known as a left-handed specialist out of the bullpen. Throughout his Mets tenure, his role has been to face tough left-handed hitters in late innings. Often pitching less than an inning per appearance, Blevins is part of a dying breed.
Teams are shifting away from bullpen specialists whose roles are defined in such a minimal way. The preference is to have a guy who can go multiple innings. Men like Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo are far more valuable than those cut from the same cloth as Blevins.
I don’t see the trend changing either. It’s becoming clear that Blevins can no longer handle the job. All year long, he has been far from a left-handed specialist.
Lefties are actually hitting Blevins better this season than righties. This isn’t exactly the issue with him, though. The bigger problem is how many walks he’s allowing.
More from Rising Apple
- NY Mets Free Agent Retrospective: Daniel Murphy becomes an enemy
- NY Mets: 1 major award you didn’t realize the team has never won
- NY Mets: Trade market for starting pitchers feels non-existent
- NY Mets prospect Eric Orze has the stuff to become a future closer
- NY Mets Rumors: 1 big threat to steal 2 Flushing free agents
Blevins is averaging more walks than strikeouts this year. After two consecutive seasons of reaching over 11 per 9 frames, Blevins has dropped his total by more than half and has seen his walk rate skyrocket.
As a result, Blevins is sitting in the Mets bullpen with no real definitive task. Mickey Callaway has continued to use him almost exclusively versus lefties. It’s not working out and it’s time he rethinks what makes Blevins a big league pitcher.
Yet another reason why the Mets have to stop this nonsense is the fact that they don’t have any other lefties in the bullpen. Up until this point, Buddy Baumann has been the only other lefty reliever they have used. He’s barely a consideration to take over for Blevins or anyone else on the roster.
Lefty relievers are important in baseball and I do believe splits should be considered. However, using a guy in such a limited capacity is foolish when you lack other options.
This team isn’t good enough to have the luxury of employing someone with one job. At $7 million, Blevins needs to do more than walk a left-handed hitter in the seventh inning. He needs to get the Mets three outs and give them a chance to win.
Lately, Blevins hasn’t been the reliable arm we used to know. Definitely not worth the price, it’s about time the Mets try something new.
Next: Grading the Mets offseason free agent signings
Want your voice heard? Join the Rising Apple team!
It’s bad enough when a team has players on their roster who can play only one position, like first base. It’s far worse when a pitcher can only face a small percentage of hitters.