Next up in the trade deadline series is a pair of Mets relievers, one from the right and one from the left in Addison Reed and Jerry Blevins, respectively. While a few of the previous players covered may be long shots, these two seem like very realistic targets for the Dodgers.
The Dodgers are exploring possible deal for the Mets' Addison Reed.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 22, 2017
- J.D. Martinez/Justin Wilson (July 13)
- Sonny Gray/Sean Doolittle (July 14)
- Chris Archer (July 15)
- Zach Britton/Brad Brach (July 17)
- Yu Darvish (July 18)
- Brad Hand (July 19)
The Mets have suffered a disastrous run of injuries this year and are currently seven games below .500 and 11 games out of the Wild Card chase. As such, they’re definitely going to be selling in 2017 and their relievers are prime candidates to be moved. As it turns out, the bullpen is an area that everybody agrees the Dodgers are trying to improve. Despite how fun it is to talk about all the big names on the market, it’s the most realistic aspect of the team to address.
For Reed’s first four and a half seasons with the White Sox and the Diamondbacks he was not particularly good as a reliever. He posted a 4.20 (nice) ERA in 233.2 innings, despite quality stuff with 241 strikeouts and a reasonable 71 walks. Since being dealt to the Mets in 2015, however, he’s been significantly better. Reed has reduced his ERA to 2.04 in 136.2 innings since the deal and has struck out 153 batters and walked just 23.
Reed is generally a two-pitch pitcher from the right side, with a fastball that sits at an unspectacular 91-93 mph, but it’s his 84-86 mph slider that’s the star and he throws it 31% of the time.
This year, Reed has a 2.47 ERA in 43.2 innings, and has 15 saves as the Mets closer. The question is whether he can continue to suppress homers with just a 37% GB rate, especially in this allegedly juiced ball era, but he’s struck out 45 and walked just 5 for an FIP of 2.90. Bottom line is that he’s been a quality back-end caliber reliever for over two seasons now and would be an intriguing option as the bridge to Kenley Jansen.
The 28-year-old Reed would be a rental, as he’s a free agent next year, and he’s under contract for 2017 at $7.75 million.
The 33-year-old Blevins is a left-handed reliever who has a track record of consistent performance over his 11-year MLB career. In his career, he’s thrown 401 innings, putting up a 3.43 ERA and a 3.56 FIP, giving up a .740 OPS against righties and limiting lefties to a .568 OPS. In 2017? Much of the same. Blevins has a 3.34 ERA and a 3.23 FIP with 42 strikeouts against 15 walks in 29.2 innings, including a stellar 3.22 DRA. Most relevantly to the Dodgers, while he’s allowing a massive 1.145 OPS to righties this year, he’s owning lefties to the tune of a minuscule .391 OPS.
The stuff profile of Blevins is not that impressive, as he’s a typical LOOGY at this stage, coming in with a fastball around 88-90 mph and a curve from 70-72 mph that he uses a whopping 47% of the time. He also rarely utilizes a change up at 82-83 mph around 4% of the time.
With Adam Liberatore hurt, Grant Dayton hard to rely on due to his injury problems, and Luis Avilan looking thoroughly average, the Dodgers are definitely in the market for pen help from the left side and Blevins fits the bill perfectly.
Blevins makes $5.5 million this year, but he could also help the Dodgers in 2018 if they so choose, as he has a $7 million team option with a $1 million buyout. Honestly though, this is probably best looked at as a rental since paying that much for a LOOGY seems less than ideal.
This is where things get complicated, right? It’s hard to read the reliever market at this point, especially after the Nationals acquired Ryan Madson and Sean Doolittle from the A’s for a surprisingly light return. While it’s not fair to say every team thinks of their relievers that way, one has to think that two rentals would have less value, right? Probably.
Instead of coming up with proposals for them individually, acquiring them as a package seems most likely, as that’s what teams have done so far in order to maximize their return.
Neil Walker is a free agent after this season and the Mets are still in win-now mode, especially if they can just remain healthy. So it’s less about wanting to rebuild and more about wanting to reload. In that vein, despite Forsythe’s rough 2017 with the Dodgers, he provides a relatively inexpensive MLB-proven player with 4-win upside. Due to the emergence of Chris Taylor, the re-emergence of Enrique Hernandez, and even Austin Barnes (if necessary), Forsythe has become expendable and I’ve heard team has made him available in trade talks. Alexy provides a breakout talent with rotation potential in the lower minors, while Rincon isn’t producing but would be a bet on development and talent.
If Forsythe isn’t what the Mets want, then perhaps a more prospect-oriented package would get the job done. Fernandez could compete for the second base job next year and has much more team control if that’s what’s appealing to the Mets. Sheffield is a dynamic arm that hasn’t lived up to his billing this year, which is the only reason a mid-rotation upside pitcher would be available for relievers. Abdullah is another quality arm in the low minors that could breakout as soon as next year.
To be clear, this is not the showy, flashy option that many (and I) want. Reed isn’t the bonafide shutdown setup man and Blevins isn’t exactly an overpowering lefty. However, they are both very effective, and because of their potential rental status, they should come relatively cheap.