New York Mets Bring Back Reliever Jerry Blevins on a Minor League Deal

The New York Mets are looking for more left-handed depth in their bullpen, and they turned to fan-favorite Jerry Blevins. The 37-year old veteran has not pitched in the big leagues since the 2019 season as a member of the Atlanta Braves.

Blevins spent 2020 with the San Francisco Giants but never got the opportunity to join the big league roster. It was surprising after Blevins had a successful 2019 where he had a 3.95 ERA in a bounce-back season. Outside of the rough season in 2018, Blevins has been one of the most consistent left-handed relievers of the last decade.

Blevins was a key part of the bullpen in 2016 and 2017, where he combined for a 2.87 ERA in 148 games. His looping curveball is still a tremendous out pitch, which allows him to survive with a sinker that sits in the high 80s.

Does He Have a Chance?

Daniel Zamora is the only other left-handed reliever on the 40-man roster, excluding Steven Matz. The three batter minimum rule is something for Blevins to adjust to, but there are no worries there. Blevins dominates the lefties but still retires the righties at a good clip. His veteran presence puts him in a position where a good spring training lands him a roster spot on opening day. The addition of Blevins is another example of a low risk, high reward move the Mets have completed this offseason.

New York Mets Re-Sign Rene Rivera

The New York Mets catching depth behind Wilson Ramos was extremely thin heading into Spring Training, but the Mets have brought back veteran catcher Rene Rivera. He comes back to the Mets on a minor league deal for the second consecutive year, and he also receives an invite to Spring Training.

Rivera will make $1 million if he lands on the major league roster along with another $300,000 in possible incentives. The 36-year old veteran is your prototypical backup catcher, pop in his bat, and very strong defensively. He only played in nine big-league games during the 2019 season, hitting .235. Rivera’s minor league was fantastic, he hit 25 home runs and threw out 52 percent of base stealers.

Separate Plan in Place

Projected trade piece Tomas Nido is the current Mets backup catcher. His name has come up in trade talks with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and Rivera would slot in place should the Mets acquire Marte. Discussions on Marte increased over the last week, and after the Atlanta Braves signed Marcel Ozuna, the Mets might look to equal the move.

Should Nido stay, both would compete for the backup catcher job. The Mets handed Nido the position last season, but he was not convincing as the man for the situation going forward. In 50 games, Nido only hit .191 and struggled to throw out any baserunners. The Mets will need some production from their backup, so Wilson Ramos can avoid playing in 140+ games in 2020.

Why the New York Mets Should Make a Run at Josh Donaldson

New York Mets, Josh Donaldson

Over the past few days, there has been plenty of noise surrounding the potential trade of Nolan Arenado from the Colorado Rockies. Despite how good it would look to put an MVP candidate at third base, the New York Mets should put their focus on Josh Donaldson.

Arenado is undoubtedly one of the best third basemen of his generation, but the ramifications of the trade could hurt the Mets more than it helps. The Mets would be forced to give up more than Arenado is valued, when another quality third baseman is right under their nose.

Arenado is also due at least $35 million per year until the end of the 2025 season. For an organization that hopes to have their starting pitching and sluggers like Pete Alonso and Michael Conforto in their plans, the money will not be in place to keep the crew together.

Quality over Quantity

This is where Donaldson comes into play. He very quietly homered 37 times and had an OPS of .900. Since Donaldson is a free agent, there is nothing for the Mets to give up in place for him. Not to mention Donaldson had a higher WAR than Arenado.

Going into his age-34 season, Donaldson would not be in New York to carry the middle of the order the way Arenado would. His bat is still great among third basemen, and the Mets can negotiate a deal very similar to Dellin Betances’. Offer Donaldson a one-year offer with multiple option years along with incentives for specific statistical achievements.

Add to Depth

Donaldson played 155 games after dealing with injuries for the previous two seasons. With the Mets, Donaldson will receive more days off and only have to play 135-140 games. The Mets have multiple interchangeable parts, which include J.D. Davis, Jeff McNeil, and Jed Lowrie if he survives the offseason. Donaldson becomes the everyday third baseman while the outfield spots become a revolving door and, most importantly, keeps everyone fresh.

With having this much depth means it gives the Mets room to make trades. They can use another arm in the bullpen, prospects, or most importantly, an everyday center fielder. Signing Donaldson allows the Mets to part ways with Davis, Brandon Nimmo, or Dominic Smith without being hurt, but enables those pieces can bring back a solid return. Not to mention, there will be a team who will take a risk on Jed Lowrie as well.

Signing Donaldson will also allow the Mets to weaken their competition while getting stronger at the same time. The Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals are the front runners for Donaldson, and whoever signs him becomes the favorite to win the division. It also gives the Mets a very dangerous and balanced lineup.

The Mets have been silent on making any moves since the Betances signing. Their current roster structure puts them in a perfect place to compete, but signing Donaldson makes them a front runner to take the National League crown.