New York Post writer Joel Sherman wrote this weekend that it was hard to ignore the fact that Jerry Blevins was used against two tough lefties in last Friday afternoon's Grapefruit League game against the New York Mets, who were known to be in the market for a left-handed reliever.
"In what either was a showcase — or one heck of a coincidence —," Sherman wrote, "the Nationals had their very available southpaw reliever, Jerry Blevins, face the Mets’ two best lefty hitters, Curtis Granderson and Lucas Duda, at a time when the Mets are looking for lefty relief."
Sherman speculated that even though the Nationals and Mets were divisional rivals, a deal might make sense.
"Washington manager Matt Williams told me the Nationals are trying to settle on two lefties for their bullpen," he explained.
"They have [Jerry] Blevins, Matt Thornton and Xavier Cedeno, all of whom are out of options and cannot be sent to the minors without first passing through waivers. Williams also said Rich Hill was a consideration."
"I have been told the Nationals are more of a fallback position in case other stuff does not materialize," Sherman continued.
Though the Mets did acquire left-hander Alex Torres from the Padres earlier today, with the loss of Josh Edgin, they apparently felt the need to add another left-handed option as well and this afternoon New York acquired Jerry Blevins in a deal that brought 27-year-old outfielder Matt den Dekker to the Nationals.
Sherman noted this weekend that Blevins, who was acquired by the Nats from the Oakland A's last winter in return for minor league outfielder Billy Burns, has a connection in New York.
"Their bench coach, Bob Geren, was Blevins manager for his first five seasons from 2007-11," with the Athletics.
FOXSports.com's Ken Rosenthal speculated on why the Nationals might have been willing to deal Blevins a year after acquiring the left-hander:
For what it’s worth, #Nationals were NOT happy that Blevins beat them in arbitration, getting $2.4M instead of team’s offer of $2.2M.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) March 30, 2015
More to the point, #Nationals had two out-of-options lefty relievers - Blevins and Cedeno - to go with Thornton. One of them had to go.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) March 30, 2015
Blevins, 31, won the arbitration case after going (2-3) in his first year with the Nationals, posting a 4.87 ERA, a 2.77 FIP, 23 walks (3.61 BB/9) and 66 Ks (10.36 K/9) in 64 games and 57 ⅓ IP over which he was worth a career-best +0.8 fWAR.
Matt den Dekker joins the Nationals after two seasons in the majors with NY in which the Mets' 2010 5th Round pick put up a .238/.325/.310 line with 11 doubles and one home run in 80 games and 237 PAs over which he's been worth +0.8 fWAR.
In five seasons in the Mets' system, den Dekker put up a combined .289/.352/.472 line.