The Athletics are in agreement on a minor league contract with left-hander Jerry Blevins, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post. He’d earn a $1.5MM base salary if he makes the big league roster. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle had reported just minutes prior that Blevins and the A’s were close to a deal. With this deal, the Excel Sports client will be returning to Oakland for a second stint after breaking into the Majors with the A’s and spending the 2007-13 seasons there.
Since departing the A’s, the now-35-year-old Blevins has spent the past five seasons in the National League East — one with the Nationals and four with the Mets. While the 2016-17 seasons were both strong ones for Blevins — 2.87 ERA, 12.0 K/9, 3.9 BB/9 — the 2018 season was a rough one. Blevins limped to a 4.85 ERA with 8.6 K/9, 4.6 BB/9, 1.27 HR/9 and a career-worst 21.8 percent ground-ball rate.
Despite last season’s unsightly results, Blevins has a long track record of overwhelming left-handed opponents, having held them to a .206/.264/.306 slash through the other 11 seasons of his career. In all, he has a career 3.52 ERA with 9.2 K/9 against 3.5 BB/9 in 463 Major League innings.
Left-handed relief is a clear area of need for the Athletics, making Blevins a logical addition for VP of baseball operations Billy Beane, GM David Forst and the rest of the Oakland front office. At present, Ryan Buchter is not only the sole left-handed bullpen option on the 40-man roster — he’s the only healthy left-handed pitcher on their 40-man roster at all. The A’s, however, have several other non-roster invitees to big league camp in the form of Kyle Crockett, Dean Kiekhefer and Kyle Lobstein — each of whom will compete with Blevins to earn a spot in manager Bob Melvin’s relief corps.