A’s give up Blevins for speedy outfielder Burns
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The upper reaches of their organization lacking in premier talent, the A’s used a piece of their bullpen depth to get some on Wednesday afternoon, trading for speedy outfielder Billy Burns from the Nationals in exchange for lefty reliever Jerry Blevins.
Make that two trades in as many days for the A’s, who swung a deal for hurlers Drew Pomeranz and Chris Jensen while giving up Brett Anderson to the Rockies on Tuesday, and five trades in the last 10 days. Moreover, this marks the seventh trade consummated by the A’s and Nationals in the last three years.
Burns, 24, was named the Nationals’ Minor League Player of the Year in 2013, after batting .315 with a .425 on-base percentage and 96 runs scored in 121 games between Class-A Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg. He stole 74 bases in 81 attempts, and in his three professional seasons has stolen 125 bases and been caught only 17 times. He played 119 games in the outfield this season, between left field and center, and committed only two errors.
The switch-hitting outfielder, who fills the void left by the departed Michael Choice, was a 32nd-round Draft selection by Washington out of Mercer University in the 2011 Draft.
Blevins was the A’s longest-tenured pitcher, having just completed his seventh season in Oakland, going 5-0 with a 3.15 ERA and .218 opponents’ average in a career-high 67 games. His 281 career appearances with the A’s are tied for sixth most in Oakland history.
The always engaging southpaw served as the club’s player representative each of the last two and a half seasons and was very involved in the local community, making Tuesday’s news bittersweet for Blevins.
“I’ll miss Oakland,” Blevins said by phone. “It’s the only place I’ve known in the big leagues, and the fans have been so great to me. It’ll be a sad moment when I leave, but I’m excited for the opportunity.
“You know, trade rumors are just that, and I’ve always gone to the way of ignoring all of the rumor talk and waiting on facts, so it was definitely a surprise for me.”
The loss of Blevins could now entice the A’s to use the left-handed Pomeranz out of the bullpen, though he’ll also likely be in the mix for a starting spot.