After missing most of 2015 with a fracture in his throwing arm, the 33-year-old Jerry Blevins had a comeback season for the Mets, posting a 2.79 ERA over 42 innings pitched. Blevins was a huge factor in the success of a Mets bullpen that exceeded expectations in 2016.
With some uncertainty surrounding New York’s bullpen going into 2017, mostly surrounding the future of Jeurys Familia, the Mets are the favorites to re-sign the lefty. As the top-lefty specialist left on a thinning free-agent market, a multi-year deal is certainly not out of the question.
The Mets will likely not settle for a multiyear deal , however other teams in need of a bullpen arm like the Dodgers or Nationals may be willing to give him the length he wants.
Boone Logan didn’t let the nightmare of pitching in Coors Field ruin his 2016 season, finishing the year with a 3.69 ERA over 46.1 innings pitched for the Rockies. He also posted an impressive 1.01 WHIP, which ranked 15th best among pitchers who threw for a minimum of 40 innings.
Logan struggled in the first two years of the three-year, $16.5 million deal he signed with the Colorado in the 2014 offseason, yet his 2.35 ERA at home last season is almost unheard of for a pitcher at Coors Field.
The 32-year-old will likely end up on a contending team looking to add another reasonably priced arm such as the Yankees, Dodgers, Rangers, or even the Mets if they pass up on Blevins.
Having spent the previous six years as a starter, a crowded Cubs rotation forced Travis Wood into the bullpen last season where he was a pleasant surprise, finishing with a 2.95 ERA in 61 innings.
He entered this offseason with the hopes of getting a starting-gig somewhere, which is becoming less likely as the offseason progresses.
It’s hard to believe that he will ask for any more than a one-year deal, as he will either want to either re-establish himself as a starting pitcher or as an elite left-handed reliever. Even if he settles for a one year prove-it deal, he should make a fair amount of money given his 2016 success.
The Nationals and Yankees seem like good fits for Wood, with even a return to the Cubs being a possibility. Regardless of if he’s a starter or a reliever, the soon-to-be 30-year-old should benefit from being one of the top relief options on a thinning market.
Once an All-Star closer for the Giants, Sergio Romo spent his last two seasons in San Francisco in a late-inning relief role after losing his closing gig to Santiago Casilla in 2014. Romo posted impressive numbers in this role, finishing each year with a sub-3 ERA including a 2.64 ERA last season.
Romo should be an attractive option for contending teams looking the bolster the back of their bullpens, with the Mets, Nationals, D-backs and Dodgers all looking like potential fits.
Romo will turn 34 in March which essentially eliminates the possibility of him getting a significant multiyear deal, yet he remains the one of the best short-term options on the market.
Joe Blanton rejuvenated his career with a move to the bullpen in the 2015 season, having spent most of his career as a starting pitcher. Blanton’s bullpen success would reach its height in 2016, finishing the season with a career-best 2.48 ERA over 80 innings pitched.
Blanton’s experience as a starter made him extremely durable as a reliever, as he was only one of four relievers in baseball to finish the season with 80 or more innings-pitched without starting a single game.
It may be hard for Blanton to find anything more than a one-year-deal at 36-years-old, yet he could still be a very attractive option for teams like the Indians or Dodgers, who want to add another arm but are reluctant to the break the bank.
One of the less talked-about options on the market, Joe Smith has been consistently solid throughout his ten-year career, never finishing a season with an ERA over 4.00. He finished 2016 with a 3.46 ERA over 52 innings, including a 2.51 ERA after being traded to the Cubs at the trade deadline.
Turning 33 in March, it wouldn’t be too surprising to see the righty earn a multiyear deal given the consistency he’s maintained throughout his career.
Smith would be a good addition to just about any team in Major League Baseball, and will likely end up with a contending team seeking bullpen help like the Mets or Blue Jays.*
Other relief options worth mentioning: RHP Jonathan Papelbon, RHP Fernando Salas, RHP David Hernandez, LHP J.P. Howell, RHP Tommy Hunter, LHP Javier Lopez
*Statistics from MLB.com
-Featured Image from ESPN