Jerry Blevins, Nationals not too far apart in arbitration figures


Oct 3, 2014; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals relief pitcher

Jerry Blevins

(13) pitches against the San Francisco Giants in the sixth inning during game one of the 2014 NLDS playoff baseball game at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: H.Darr Beiser-USA TODAY Sports

Before Friday’s deadline for teams to exchange salary figures with arbitration-eligible players, the Washington Nationals managed to reach one-year deals with seven players to avoid going to arbitration.

While the Nationals were able to avoid arbitration with almost all eligible players, they were unable to reach a deal with left-handed reliever Jerry Blevins and he and the team may be headed to an arbitration hearing next month. Fortunately, the gap separating the two sides is relatively small, which means they may be able to reach a compromise before going to a hearing.

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According to CBS Sports, Blevins filed for $2.4 million, while the Nationals filed for $2.2 million. With the gap between the two sides at just $200,000, it’s surprising that they weren’t able to reach a deal before Friday’s deadline. For that same reason, however, the sides will probably be able to find a middle ground – somewhere around $2.3 million – and reach a deal before having to face an arbitrator next month.

The Nationals acquired Blevins, 31, in a trade with the Oakland Athletics last offseason. Washington was in need of a left-handed, late-inning specialist and Blevins, who had posted a 3.15 ERA in 60 innings for the Athletics in 2013, appeared to be the right man for the job.

But the left-hander didn’t really perform how the team expected him to in 2014 – especially early in the season – going 2-3 with a 4.27 ERA and a WHIP of 1.238 over 57 1/3 innings of work.

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While his numbers show that he struggled at times last season, it should be noted that he improved dramatically later in the year. The left-hander allowed only three runs (all in one game) in nine innings of work in September, earning him a spot on the postseason roster. Blevins also did really well in the NLDS against the Giants, holding San Francisco hitless over 3 1/3 innings of work.

Blevins will likely be back in the same lefty specialist role in 2015, though he may have a chance to take Tyler Clippard‘s spot as the eight inning setup man. For now, though, Blevins and the Nationals need to figure out how much money the left-hander will be making next season.