The San Francisco Giants just signed veteran reliever Jerry Blevins to a minor league deal. Who is he and how can he help the team?
Blevins adds some left-handed depth to a bullpen that really only had Tony Watson as a proven southpaw option after Will Smith signed with the Atlanta Braves in free agency.
Last season with the Braves, Blevins posted a 3.90 ERA with an impressive 10.3 K/9 in 32.1 innings, albeit with a troubling 4.5 BB/9 walk rate that was consistent with his two previous seasons as a member of the New York Mets.
The Giants are no stranger to relievers who strike out a ton of batters while at the same time giving out their fair share of free passes. Reyes Moronta had a walk rate of 5.2 BB/9 last season, so at least Blevins can keep the walks in check a bit better than the at-times wild Moronta.
While the team has been active this offseason in acquiring veteran starters on short-term deals, Blevins is the first reliever to be signed to such a deal. Assuming he makes the roster, he will provide a left-handed option in the middle innings, helping to bridge the gap to whoever wins the closer's job.
If he can strike batters out at the same rate he usually does, then he will be a valuable asset for a Giants team that will need all of the relief help it can get when taking into account their weak starting rotation.
Of course, it would not be a rebuild year if we did not mention the possibility that Blevins could be used as a trade chip come deadline time.
It may be depressing, but evaluating the trade value of all the short-term Giants acquisitions may be the biggest thing to look forward to this season as the front office continues to load up on younger prospects to rebuild the team.
The 36-year-old Blevins will receive an invite to spring training where he will be given every opportunity to win a spot on the Opening Day roster. He could come in handy for a rebuilding Giants team not just on the field, but possibly come July 31st as well.