Signing a left-handed reliever wasn’t as high up on the A’s list of priorities as starting pitching or catcher, but they may have just filled that need before the other two.
A familiar face is back with the organization as the club signed Jerry Blevins to a minor league deal Monday. According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, Blevins would earn a $1.5 million salary if he makes the big league club, and he should have a good shot given the current state of the bullpen.
Ryan Buchter is the only left-hander on the A’s 40-man roster. While Buchter is utilized often against right-handed batters as well as lefties, Blevins is more of a left-handed specialist. In 12 big league seasons, Blevins has held left-handers to a .216 batting average. He’ll compete with other non-roster invitees Dean Kiekhefer, Kyle Crockett and Kyle Lobstein for a spot on the on the big league roster as the A’s second lefty.
Despite a rough 2018 campaign with the Mets that saw his ERA balloon to a career-worst 4.97 ERA, Blevins still possesses a solid 3.66 ERA over his career. His first seven seasons with the A’s from 2007-13 were his best, compiling a 3.30 ERA over 281 appearances.
Blevins, 35, was a key piece of the A’s 2012 playoff run and pitched well in their one playoff series as he allowed just one hit in three appearances against the Tigers in the ALDS.