The Braves bullpen this year has been atrocious, especially having sustained several injuries. As a result, Alex Anthopoulos has made a move today to strengthen the ‘pen with the addition of LHP Jerry Blevins. Blevins was a part of the Oakland Athletics’ Triple A affiliate, in which he was spectacular, giving up only two earned runs (both solo shots) over 10.2 innings. The Braves immediately selected his contract from Gwinnett, their Triple A affiliate. Blevins is 35 years old and regressing fast, but the Braves only had to give up cash considerations for his rights, making the trade reasonable.
Blevins spent 2014-2018 in the NL East, mostly with the Mets. The 2016-2017 seasons are when when he found most of his success with NY, with a sub 3.00 ERA in each. However, in his last year with the Mets, he posted a 4.85 ERA, justifying his move to Triple A to start the year with the A’s.
Giving up 5 runs in the ninth inning with two outs to blow a lead and lose to the Rockies yesterday may have been the performance Anthopoulos was waiting for to make an immediate move to help the struggling bullpen. Most of the issue with the Braves’ bullpen have stemmed the uncanny amount of walks issued, with a walk percentage of 14.6%. Blevins’ career walk percentage is 9%, which can hopefully provide a little bit of stability to this young bullpen.
Wes Parsons was sent down to Gwinnett in a corresponding move. In 12 games, Parsons had a 4.35 ERA with a 1.45 WHIP. Many Braves fans were calling on the front office to make a move for the bullpen, but I don’t think that this is what they had in mind. A majority of fans wanted to see Jesse Biddle sent down to Triple A to fix his mindset and his mechanics, but he was recently put on the injured list.
Overall, Anthopoulos improved the bullpen with this move, but it’s likely only a matter of time before the bullpen catches up to harm the team once again. The offense can only provide so many runs per game, and when you have one of the best offenses in baseball, you should probably look to your pitching staff to improve a sub-.500 team. What most of the fans have been saying (me included) is to let the young kids play. The Braves have plenty of young relief prospects in their system to fill the needs of the team, so in the next coming weeks expect to see some unfamiliar faces in Atlanta, and take comfort in this.
Featured Photo: Keith Allison