General manager Michael Rizzo knew heading into the off-season the Washington had just a few glaring weaknesses. First, Rizzo addressed problem number one by trading for starting pitcher Doug Fister. Now, he’s at it again as the Nationals added left handed reliever Jerry Blevins. Blevins will be a welcomed addition to a bullpen that struggled at times to find favorable matchups, and the former Dayton Flyer should be a solution to that problem. Washington acquired Blevins in a deal with the Oakland Athletics, the team’s trade partner out west, which will send minor league outfielder Billy Burns to California.
A season ago, the 29-year old pitcher had an ERA of 3.15 over more than 60 innings of work. The Washington bullpen had serious troubles against the strong left-handed hitters of the National League East, and Blevins should be able to neutralize a majority of those batters with his strong-arm. Over the last two seasons, Blevins is a combined 10-1 and has pitched over 60 innings both years.
The Nationals, however, give up their reigning minor league player of the year in Billy Burns. Burns is recognized as an excellent defensive outfielder, and with his great speed, is able to steal bases at will. The knock on the former National is his inability to hit for power, and with such depth within the Nationals farm system it would be tough to see Burns crack the major league lineup for several years. In return, Washington will receive an immediate impact player in Blevins, and sure up a shaky bullpen.
It appears as if Washington is committed to winning now, as Rizzo has dealt some of the team’s top prospects to add major league talent. Although I do agree with the move, I feel its essential to the future of the organization that the Nationals do not deplete their farm system entirely, and maintain the influx of youth into the big leagues.