The Toronto Blue Jays are reportedly interested in left-handed free agent reliever Jerry Blevins, according to Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith.
Behind Aroldis Chapman and Brett Cecil, the long-time Blue Jays’ reliever who recently signed a deal with the St. Louis Cardinals, Blevins is one of the top left-handed relievers available in a limited market.
The 33-year-old missed nearly all of 2015 with a fractured forearm, but returned this past season with the New York Mets and posted some of the strongest numbers of his career.
Over 73 appearances (42.0 IP), Blevins posted a 2.79 ERA with a career best 11.1 strikeouts per nine innings. of course, having such a high number of appearances result in so few innings pitched demonstrates that Blevins was used as a specialist by the Mets.
Blevins faced 113 left-handed batters compared to just 65 from the right side. This small sample size actually produced a slightly lower OPS versus righties, but he still held lefties to a .636 mark. For his career, opposing left-handed hitters have a .214 batting average and .588 OPS against Blevins.
The six-foot-six veteran throws a sinking fastball that sits around 90 miles-per-hour and a strong curveball that rests in the low-70s, creating a quality variance in velocities.
Toronto is certainly in need of left-handed relief help following Cecil’s official departure, though the fourth year and full no-trade clause on his contract could also boost the market value of fellow left-handers like Blevins.
As the Blue Jays’ roster currently stands, Aaron Loup is the top available left-hander and is projected by MLBTR to earn $1.2 million in arbitration. Behind Loup, the Blue Jays also have Chad Girodo and Matt Dermody who made their major-league debuts in 2016.
Blevins earned $4 million in his final year with New York. Given the current state of the market and the fact that Blevins is coming off a strong season, he should have little problem securing a comfortable multi-year deal.