The Mets made two trades Monday to address one of their biggest shortcomings — lefties in the bullpen.
They sent Matt den Dekker to the Nationals for Jerry Blevins, while minor league starter Cory Mazzoni and a player to be named later go to the Padres for Alex Torres.
The 31-year-old Blevins is an eight-year veteran. He spent his entire career in Oakland before being dealt to the Nationals. In 57.1 innings he struck out 66 batters and pitched to a mediocre 4.87 ERA in his one year in D.C. Over his career, left-handed hitters have batted .212 against him. That is why the Mets got him.
Torres’s numbers last season were better than Blevins’s — a respectable 3.33 ERA with 51 strikeouts in 54 innings. Lefties are hitting .216 against Torres for his career. But righties are hitiing just .186, so he might not only be a situational lefty. Plus, Torres is only 27 years old, so he could have a future in Flushing.
The Mets really did not give up much to get these players. den Dekker has proven to be a solid fielder, but his hitting is nothing special. And besides, Kirk Nieuwenhuis is out of options and will make the team. den Dekker was headed to Las Vegas.
Mazzoni has an impressive 24-12 record in four minor league seasons. But that is offset by a high 4.11 ERA. He is not a big strikeout guy, but he hardly walks anyone, either — just 78 walks in 300 innings. At 25 he is still a legitimate prospect, but let’s face it, the Mets are pretty much stocked in the starting pitching department; there were plenty of guys ahead of Mazzoni.
Sandy Alderson said both Blevins and Torres will make the team, as well as Rule 5 lefty Sean Gilmartin. So the Opening Day bullpen will likely consist of those three, Jenrry Mejia, Jeurys Familia, Carlos Torres and probably Rafael Montero (or Dillon Gee if the Mets put Montero in the rotation). Vic Black is expected to start the season on the disabled list.
Speaking of Gee, ESPN New York reports the Mets could still trade him. That seems more likely now because Blevins will make $2.4 million this season, pushing the Mets payroll over the $100 million mark. Besides, when Black and Bobby Parnell return from the DL, there will be no room in the Mets bullpen. Getting rid of Gee and his salary opens up a slot for one of those guys.