Can the New York Mets afford to re-sign Jerry Blevins?

Can the New York Mets afford to re-sign Jerry Blevins?

Former New York Mets left-handed pitcher Jerry Blevins remains a free agent 18 days before pitchers and catchers report to Port St. Lucie. Blevins, 33, was effective in 73 games for the 2016 Mets as the southpaw pitched to a 2.79 ERA with a career-best 3.47 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports Blevins is on the Mets’ radar, though he also reports Blevins could be a match with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Mets GM Sandy Alderson has implied the Mets have been reluctant (or, perhaps, unable) to add payroll unless it sheds Jay Bruce’s $13 million commitment. Alderson picked up Bruce’s one-year team option following the 2016 season in hopes the team could find a suitor for the outfielder.

The New York Mets’ payroll ($138.4 million) projects to rank 13th in Major League Baseball in 2017, narrowly ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals ($138.2 million) but roughly eight million behind the Seattle Mariners ($146.5 million). The figure does not include $4.58 million in deferred payments owed to Carlos Beltran, Bobby Bonilla and Bret Saberghagen, according to spotrac. The Mets’ total 2016 payroll was $159.38 million, which includes amateur and international draft signing bonuses as well as players that were acquired during the season and in-house players that were added to the 40-man roster. The Mets project to spend less money in 2017 despite clinching their second consecutive postseason berth.

Although Greg Holland’s recent one-year, $7 million pact with the Colorado Rockies is a gamble for the Rockies, it likely represents Blevins’ contract ceiling this late into the offseason. Holland, 31, saved 145 games in six years with the Kansas City Royals but missed the 2016 season after he underwent Tommy John surgery. A second year did not make sense for either party, but it might for the Mets and Blevins.

Blevins reportedly sought a three-year contract earlier this offseason, but that appears to be an unlikely proposition this close to Spring Training. The Mets and Blevins remain a good match, and a two-year, $11 million contract seems to be a reasonable midpoint for both parties to seal the deal.

Listen: Metstradamus Blog’s John Coppinger and I discuss the impact of Jay Bruce being named the team’s everyday right fielder, how the Mets’ roster is set to drastically change after 2017, and the prophecies of R.A. Dickey.

Photo credit: Michael G. Baron