After trading Sandy Leon to the Boston Red Sox for cash considerations earlier in the day, Mike Rizzo continues his day’s work by dealing Blevins to the Mets. As we featured here on District on Deck, the Nats have a surplus of left-handed relievers and the Mets seemed to be a likely suitor. And according to Rizzo, he dealt from a position of strength:
The Nats gave up Blevins, who posted a 4.87 ERA over 57.1 IP on route to a 2-3 record in his one season of work for the club. Blevins, along with his left-handed bullpen mates Matt Thornton and Xavier Cedeno, entered spring training out of minor league options. Therefore, the team was actively shopping those three relievers in hopes of netting a return before placing them on the waiver wire.
Matt den Dekker enters into his fifth season after the Mets drafted him 152nd overall in the 2010 draft. Dekker spent 53 games at the major league level last year posting a .250/.345/.322 slash line over 174 plate appearances. His AAA numbers down in Las Vegas were impressive: .334/.407/.540 slash with a .411 wOBA.
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Matt den Dekker also brings a lot of flexibility to the team because he can play all three positions. That is a valuable trait for a team that could be missing both its starting left fielder (Jayson Werth) and center fielder (Denard Span) heading into opening day.
The Nats bullpen picture is a bit clearer after this move as their left-handed pitching ranks is now thinner by one. The team now has Matt Thornton, Xavier Cedeno, and Rich Hill as options from the left side. Rich Hill still has a few options left so look for him to head down to the minors to start the year.
Now the Nationals are faced with the choice to trade, release, or keep Cedeno or Thornton. The Nats have to keep at least one left-handed specialist on the team and possibly both to cover for injury and rest considerations. It will be interesting as Opening Day approaches to see how the bullpen shakes out.
It looks like both teams got what they needed in this deal and the Nationals now have an additional option in the outfield until this team can get healthy again.