Lefty specialist Blevins retires from MLB

April 27th, 2021

NEW YORK -- Jerry Blevins, one of the most effective left-handed specialists of the past decade-plus, announced his retirement on Tuesday following a brief stint at the Mets’ alternate site in Brooklyn.

“Mostly I’m looking forward to being a better father, husband, brother, son, friend to the many people I’ve neglected in pursuit of my dream,” Blevins wrote in a tweet announcing his decision. “I’ve missed countless weddings, funerals, birthdays, etc. You name it, I’ve missed it. And I’m excited to be there for them like they deserve.”

Blevins, 37, attempted a comeback with the Mets this spring after sitting out last season. When Blevins did not make the team, he elected to report to the Mets’ alternate site in the hopes of receiving a call-up. But with the Minor League season about to begin, Blevins would have had to leave Brooklyn and his family to grind things out at Triple-A. He chose retirement instead.

So ended a 13-year career with the A’s, Nationals, Mets and Braves that saw Blevins hold left-handed batters to a .213/.270/.313 slash line. The Mets originally traded for Blevins prior to the 2015 season, but a broken arm prevented him from playing a role during their World Series run. Blevins did return to serve as the Mets’ primary lefty specialist over the next three seasons, producing a 3.50 ERA with 162 strikeouts in 133 2/3 innings covering 212 games those years.

Following a stint in Atlanta in 2019, Blevins signed a Minor League deal with the Giants, but San Francisco cut him when the pandemic shut down the baseball world. He took the summer off but never officially retired, prompting the Mets to call him early last offseason. Intrigued by the offer to return to New York, Blevins began throwing at home and decided he would try to make the team.

That attempt officially ended Tuesday, when he announced his retirement. All told, Blevins posted a 3.54 ERA with 508 strikeouts in his 13 seasons. He made six career postseason appearances for the A’s and Nationals, spending his career neutralizing Robinson Canó (1-for-11), Joe Mauer (1-for-9), Daniel Murphy (2-for-19) and some of the game’s other top left-handed hitters.

“I’ll miss the fans cheering as I jog in from the bullpen with ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ playing loudly,” Blevins wrote. “I’ll miss striking guys out with runners in scoring position. I’ll miss throwing balls to fans during batting practice. I’ll miss so many things. I’ll miss throwing curveballs. Oh yeah, I’ll miss the curveballs. But mostly I’ll miss the guys. The clubhouse. My teammates. My bullpen mates. My coaches. There’s nothing like the camaraderie of a baseball team.”

More than anything, Blevins said during a separate phone interview, he wants to spend his newfound free time being a better husband and father. He plans to take his family to Citi Field on Wednesday to watch Jacob deGrom compete against the Red Sox -- or, as Blevins put it, “watch the best pitcher in the world pitch, have a beer, and be a dad.”