The Washington Nationals have acquired left handed reliever Jerry Blevins from the Oakland A’s in exchange for infield prospect Billy Burns. Â Burns was the Nats minor League system player of the year last year.
After acquiring starting pitcher Doug Fister to fill the rotation slot created by the departure of Dan Haren, the Nats turned their attention at the MLB Winter Meetings this week to acquiring a left-handed reliever. Â The 30 year-old southpaw has spent his entire career in Oakland after being drafted in the in the 2004 MLB Draft by the Chicago Cubs.
In 7 season out of the Oakland bullpen, Blevins has posted a 13-6 record with 2 saves. Â He has recorded a career 3.30 ERA in 267 total innings. Â Last season, Blevins appeared in 67 games and posted a 5-0 record with a 3.15 ERA. Â Over 60 innings pitched, Blevins permitted 47 hits, 21 runs, and 17 walks, while fanning 52 batters. Â Blevins resolves a two-year old issue of left handed support in the bullpen. Â Last season, the Nationals flirted with several options, but all failed and the Nats remained in need of a left handed reliever.
To Oakland goes prospect 2B Billy Burns. Â Burns split last season between Potomac (A) and Harrisburg (AA). Â BurnsÂ was drafted in the 32nd round of the 2011 draft. Â Burns was known to be the fastest player in the system, swiping 74 bases in 84 attempts in 2013. Â Burns batted Â .312 and posted a .422 on-base percentage in 91 games with Class A Potomac this season. He was promoted to Class AA Harrisburg and hit .325 with reached base at a .434 clip.
With a starting pitcher (Fister) and left handed reliever (Blevins) now marked off the list, the Nats will likely turn their attention to bench depth and a possible backup catcher.