At some point Billy Beane is going to get some sleep and quit trading A’s players, right?
Following the expected departure of Brett Anderson to the Colorado Rockies yesterday in exchange for Drew Pomeranz and Chris Jensen, the A’s dealt away their longest tenured player in left-handed reliever Jerry Blevins on Wednesday to the Washington Nationals.
Blevins has been with the Oakland A’s since 2007 and had appeared in 281 games over the past seven seasons in green and gold. He leaves with a career record of 13-6 with a 3.30 ERA and two saves in 267 total innings pitched.
Blevins was entering his second year of arbitration eligibility and would have commanded a raise from his $1.1 million salary in 2013. A projected salary of around the $2 million price range had originally made him a candidate to be non-tendered earlier in the offseason, though the A’s chose rather to extend him an offer and trade him, as they also did with Seth Smith (dealt to the San Diego Padres for Luke Gregerson).
In return, the A’s landed Washington Nationals’ minor league player of the year, Billy Burns. The 23-year old center fielder split the 2013 season between Class-A and Double-A, batting a combined .315/.425/.383 with 74 stolen bases in 81 attempts. He has been described as having blazing speed, able to eat up a lot of ground in the outfield and having a knack for getting on base — sounds right up the A’s alley.
Blevins departure opens a spot in the bullpen that could wind up going to the Pomeranz as a replacement left-handed reliever.
In four appearances as a reliever in 2013, Pomeranz allowed just one hit and didn’t surrender a run across five innings, striking out six batters compared to just one walk. Though his greatest value is still yet to come as a starter, with a stacked rotation, the A’s could see immediate value from Pomeranz using him in Blevins spot out of the bullpen.
Another intriguing alternative to replace Blevins, former A’s ace Mark Mulder is attempting a comeback and is said to prefer signing with a West coast team. Mulder, who has not pitched since the 2008 season, tweaked his mechanics to mimic those of Dodgers’ lefty Paco Rodriguez.
The new mechanics have allowed him to throw pain-free and he has reached 88-91 MPH and has impressed Major League batters whom he asked to stand again to gauge where he was at in a comeback attempt.
A veteran presence such as Mulder’s with playoff and World Series experience, not to mention a very respected baseball personality during his playing career as well as broadcasting, could be a nice boost to ease the loss of Blevins’ clubhouse presence.
Presumably, it would not take more than a minor league contract with some incentives for time spent on a Major League roster as well as appearances or innings-pitched bonuses to land Mulder. A return to the team he got his start with could be the perfect come-back story and conclusion to his career.