Michelle Ioannou, MetsBlog | Twitter |
Jerry Blevins was the only Met to survive the 2017 season without missing time due to injury, without being sent down, and without being traded -- even Jacob deGrom missed a start. This of course wasn't the only reason they Mets rightfully picked up his option, but it was a strong reason as to why they should have.
Blevins has been the constant in the bullpen, the relief pitcher we can all rely on, even relied on too much by Terry Collins. It's actually pretty amazing that Blevins' arm hasn't fallen off after these last couple of seasons. And with the way the Mets' bullpen has performed, it's been good to have this sort of relief whenever we'd see Blevins come out. Plus, it's been entertaining to see his social media hysterics.
A one-year, $7 million option on Blevins was a no-brainer. The guy wants to stay on this team, too, and he's a realist, even saying that the team needs another reliable arm (which is no secret). He knows the bullpen isn't perfect, he knows that his arm has been heavily relied on, and he knows he needs help if he wants this team to get to the level they should be at (and fans want them to be at).
Which is where Mickey Callaway comes in. Well, kind of. The new Mets manager has a strong background as a pitching coach. On top of this? He was a pitcher himself! He can relate to Blevins in a way that past managers have not. Instead of having a manager who overuses Blevins, Callaway should better be able to strategically use him, rather than just put him in a game where he's actually really not needed.
To put into perspective just how overworked Blevins was, he appeared in a whopping 73 games in 2016 and 75 games (49 innings) in 2017 -- which was tied for the third-most in baseball. Fellow lefty Josh Smoker tossed more innings in 2017 than Blevins (56 1/3), but Smoker only appeared in 54 games.
Callaway, who said that he was going to watch every game from 2017, obviously will see how Blevins was used in the past. And that should help heading in to the 2018 season, with the Mets hopefully building up the pen around Blevins, Jeurys Familia, and AJ Ramos between now and then.