The Washington Nationals made another strong move to fix one of their biggest weaknesses, acquiring Oakland Athletics lefty reliever Jerry Blevins in exchange for Billy Burns, their minor league Player of the Year.
Blevins, 30 will provide another durable arm out of the bullpen. He spent all seven seasons of his major league career with the A's and has an ERA of 3.30.
In 2013, Blevins was 5-0 with a 3.15 ERA with 52 strikeouts and 17 walks in 60 innings.
"We are thrilled to welcome Jerry Blevins to our bullpen," Mike Rizzo, Nationals president of baseball operations and general manager, said in a statement. "We look forward to him bolstering our depth in that unit."
The Nationals entered the 2013 season with Zach Duke as the only left-hander in the bullpen. The team struggled from the outset, and many of the relievers weren't able to get into sync. As a result, getting left-handed help was one of the Nationals' main needs this offseason.
With the acquisitions of Blevins and starter Doug Fister, as well as the reported addition of utility outfielder Nate McLouth, the Nationals have addressed most of their major needs heading into 2014.
The move for Blevins was costly, as Washington had to part ways with Burns, a 24-year-old who was regarded as one of the organization's top prospects. Burns, a versatile outfielder, stole a career-high 74 bases in 2013, between Single-A Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg. The Nationals selected him out of Mercer University during the 32nd round of the 2011 draft.
The Nationals' offseason moves have given them the makeup of a bona fide World Series contender, and the team can head into spring training with few question marks.