The Mets will pick up LH reliever Jerry Blevins' $7 million option for the 2018 season, reports Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.
"I would love to come back to New York," Blevins recently told MMO's Matthew Brownstein. "I feel like we have a lot to prove and I think we'll play that underdog role a lot better than we do playing the favorites. Everybody kind of needs a chip on their shoulder. ... I hope to be a part of it."
Blevins, 34, had a 2.94 ERA (3.12 FIP) and 1.36 WHIP with 69 strikeouts in 49.0 innings (75 games) this past season.
He has a 2.72 ERA (3.01 FIP) and 1.22 WHIP with 125 strikeouts in 96.0 innings (155 games) for the Mets from 2015-2017.
Blevins 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."
For a variety of irreversible reasons, MLB teams are using nearly two more relief pitchers each game when compared to 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 help.
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 would, it will leave Alderson very little money to use on the bullpen. In other words, Sandy may be again left to sign low-risk, low-reward relievers or make trades for throwers.
Blevins, Ramos, and Familia are set, 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...