On Wednesday morning, the Washington Nationals had an arbitration case decided between the team and left-handed reliever Jerry Blevins. The outcome turned out to be what the Nats would have hoped. An arbitrator decided, according to CBS Sports and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman that Blevins will make $2.4 million next season. The Nationals were hoping to get Blevins for $2.2 million, a difference of $200,000.
Last season, the 31-year old went 2-3 with a 4.87 ERA in 64 games. He recorded a career-high 66 strikeouts in 2014 as well as a 10.4 strikeouts per nine innings. As far as pay increase goes, Blevins will go from $1.675 million in 2014 to $2.4 million this season. He is set to be a free agent after the 2016 season.
When you look at this arbitration case, it makes you wonder why the Nationals had this case go in front of an arbitrator in the first place. It just seems as though the team and Blevins could have easily agreed on the $2.3 million midpoint and avoided the hearing entirely.
Nevertheless, Blevins, the 17th round pick in the 2004 MLB Draft by the Chicago Cubs, earned the pay raise. Left-handed batters hit .160 against him last season. That beings said, righties had a ton of success against him, hitting .298.
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In the second half of the year, he walked a mere seven batters. Plus, he keeps the opponent from hitting home runs, as evidenced by the three homers he gave up last year.
In the month of September, Blevins had a 3.00 ERA in nine appearances. He carried that solid stretch into the NLDS against the San Francisco Giants, when he gave up no runs on two hits in 3.1 innings of work.
Blevins has been a busy player this offseason as well. Back in November, he was one of the 29 players that went to go play in Japan as part of the Major League Baseball All-Star Postseason Tour.
If you look at Fangraphs’ projections for Blevins in 2015, they say that Blevins will throw 45 innings, have a 2.9 walks per nine innings, and nine strikeouts per nine innings. His projected WAR of 0.1 would be an upgrade of what it was a season ago (-0.3).
With the addition of Casey Janssen to the bullpen as the eighth inning man, it will be interesting to see how Matt Williams will use Blevins and Matt Thornton as the two main lefties this season. Blevins is one of those relievers that earned the pay raise and is looking to improve on the career-best 2.77 FIP he had a season ago.