The Nationals have acquired Jerry Blevins from the Athletics, according to Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish (on Twitter). Oakland will receive outfield prospect Billy Burns in return, reports Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter).
The Nationals have been known to be actively seeking a left-handed reliever, and Blevins fills that need for GM Mike Rizzo. Blevins, 30, is coming off a pair of strong seasons in which he posted a 2.80 ERA with 7.6 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 125 1/3 innings.
Even better for the Nats, he will cost far less than a comparable player on the free agent market: MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projects that Blevins will earn just $1.5MM in his second (and second-to-last) season through arbitration. Other well-regarded lefties have cost a good deal more: Javier Lopez got three years and $13MM, while Manny Parra got two and $5.5MM. The move should take the Nationals out of the market for higher-end southpaw relievers, though the club could still look to add a few budget options to compete in Spring Training.
Meanwhile, Burns is an interesting player whose value has been on the way up after a 2013 season that resulted in his being named the organization's minor leaguer of the year. Splitting time between High-A and Double-A in his age-23 campaign, the center fielder swiped a total of 74 bags while getting on base at quite an impressive clip. (His triple-slash landed at .315/.425/.383 in 540 plate appearances, 138 of which came at the Double-A level.) Baseball America credited him with the best strike zone discipline and speed in the Nats' system.
For the Nats, however, Burns lacked a clear path through the minor league system, let alone to the MLB roster. Denard Span is still under team control through 2015. More importantly, the club possesses a series of speedy, well-regarded prospects who are capable of fielding up the middle in Brian Goodwin, Michael Taylor, and Eury Perez.
Jeff Todd contributed to this post.