LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The Nationals acquired the left-handed reliever they so desired, pulling off a trade with the Athletics on Wednesday that brings veteran Jerry Blevins to Washington in exchange for minor-league outfielder Billy Burns.
Blevins, 30, was one of perhaps 10 left-handers the Nationals had expressed interest in at the Winter Meetings this week, some via trade and others via free agency.
Ultimately, they found their guy in a familiar location: Oakland. This is the seventh trade between the Nationals and A’s in the last three years, a list that includes deals involving Josh Willingham, Gio Gonzalez, Michael Morse, Fernando Abad and Kurt Suzuki (twice).
Blevins owns a 3.30 ERA over parts of the last seven seasons with the Athletics, during which time he has held left-handed hitters to a .224 batting average and .278 on-base percentage. He’s more of a matchup lefty than a full inning-eater, but he fills a void that was all too apparent for the Nationals this season.
Blevins also comes at an affordable price. He’s under team control for two seasons and figures to earn roughly $1.5 million in arbitration in 2014.
Burns was named by the Nationals as their organizational player of the year, though he wasn’t among the club’s top 10 prospects this winter, according to Baseball America. The 24-year-old outfielder does combine blazing speed (74 stolen bases this year at Class A Potomac and Class AA Harrisburg) with great plate discipline (72 walks and only 54 strikeouts).