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NY Mets: Five most valuable minor league deals this offseason

BUFFALO, NY - SEPTEMBER 11: New York Mets players watch from the dugout during a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Sahlen Field on September 11, 2020 in Buffalo, United States. Mets beat the Blue Jays 18 to 1. (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY - SEPTEMBER 11: New York Mets players watch from the dugout during a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Sahlen Field on September 11, 2020 in Buffalo, United States. Mets beat the Blue Jays 18 to 1. (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
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ATLANTA, GA – SEPTEMBER 22: Jerry Blevins #50 of the Atlanta Braves pitches during a game against the San Francisco Giants at SunTrust Park on September 22, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Mets minor league deal #1: Jerry Blevins

Starting off with a relief pitcher, Jerry Blevins is someone who the Mets are very familiar with. He spent four seasons with the Mets from 2015-2018, compiling a 14-4 record with a 3.38 ERA and 166 strikeouts over 138 ⅔ innings. He later left the team and joined the Atlanta Braves, where he tossed 32 ⅓ innings for them, compiling a 3.90 ERA.

As a southpaw, Blevins has mostly been utilized in his career as a left-handed specialist tasked with getting the left-handed batters out. Over his career, Blevins has held lefties to a .583 OPS while allowing a .743 OPS from right-handed hitters. The issue with Blevins is that left-handed specialists are becoming a relic of baseball’s past. With the three-batter minimum rule implemented, Blevins is finding it more difficult to obtain employment. Apart from a miserable showing in 2020 with the San Francisco Giants during Spring Training, Blevins’ specific skill set is simply not a commodity anymore.

That being said, Blevins is not too far removed from being a productive relief pitcher. With the Braves in 2019, Blevins held opposing left-handed hitters in check. Against him, left-handed hitters compiled a .180/.261/.279 slash line, which shows that he can still be valuable to a team’s bullpen.

Blevins is 37 and nearing the end of his career, but when healthy and productive, he could serve as a left-handed specialist for the Mets bullpen. Even with the three-batter minimum rule in play, the Mets could use another left-handed pitcher because of Justin Wilson’s imminent departure. As a best case scenario, the Mets are hoping that Blevins could fill that role.

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