The Mets have picked up the one-year, $7 million option on Jerry Blevins's contract for 2018, it was announced Friday.
"Jerry always takes the ball," Mets GM Sandy Alderson said in a press release. "He was a stable force in our bullpen all year long. "With Jerry, the addition of AJ Ramos and having Jeurys Familia for the entire season, we feel we have the nucleus for a much improved pen. Getting Jerry back makes me a lot more confident about the late innings as we go forward in 2018."
"I can't state how excited I am to continue my career as a member of the Mets," Blevins said. "This organization has shown it wants nothing more than to win a World Series and has made strides every step of the way to achieve that goal. I'm happy to be a part of that plan and can't wait to join my teammates in Florida. #LGM."
Blevins, 34, has a 2.72 ERA (3.01 FIP) and 1.22 WHIP with 125 strikeouts in 96.0 innings (155 games) since joining the Mets in 2015.
He believes in the team's current roster, but told Brownstein he would like the Mets to add at least one more reliable arm to the back of the bullpen.
"I'd like to see them maybe go out and sign Addison Reed," who will be a free agent this winter after being traded by the Mets to the Red Sox this past July. "We're going to need some steady, solid arms in the bullpen next year."
Matthew Cerrone (Twitter | Instagram | About Me): With Blevins, Jeurys Familia, and A.J. Ramos, the Mets have the start to a good bullpen, but -- Jerry is right -- they need more and I think they know it.
For a variety of irreversible reasons, MLB teams are using nearly two more relief pitchers each game when compared to similar situations 50 years ago.
Similarly, while the average bullpen was called upon to get just 4-5 outs per game in the mid-1960s, today's bullpen is asked to convert 10-11 outs per game.
"Starting pitchers rarely get through a lineup three times any more," an assistant GM for an NL team explained to me late last season. "It's forcing us to find ways to get more outs out of the same number of relievers, but do it in a way that the same number of guys are fresh for the next night."
I assume the Mets are trying to solve the same problem. Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman are talented enough to play a major role in pitching multiple innings of relief, but that depends entirely on if the rotation is healthy and not in need of their help in the rotation.
The way it stands, I expect Sandy Alderson will have roughly $20-30 million to spend on new talent for next season. The thing is, in addition to needing 'one more reliable arm,' as Blevins requested, the Mets also need a middle-of-the-order hitter and a fifth starter. The hitter and starting pitcher are always more likely to come from the free agent market. However, by doing that, it will leave Alderson very little money to use on the bullpen. In other words, again, Sandy may result to signing low-risk, low-reward relievers or make trades for "throwers."
Blevins, Ramos, and Familia are esyablished, short-stint relievers. They are quality, effective pitchers. However, getting talent capable of delivering the ball to them as a bridge from the rotation will take more than just one acquisition like Reed. It's going to take multiple guys, multiple deals, and having everyone stay healthy along the way.
Alderson helped his situation by trading for multiple young arms last summer. However, we have no idea if these people will play a role in 2018. The Mets are going to need at least one or two known talents, otherwise I fear they'll be leaving themselves exposed like they did last season.