Mets acquire Eric O'Flaherty, designate Alex Torres for assignment

"We feel like a lefty reliever was something that we could use -- a guy that was more of a strict left-on-left guy," assistant general John Ricco said of acquiring Eric O'Flaherty. Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

MIAMI -- Trying to bolster their bullpen as they battle the Washington Nationals for the NL East crown, the New York Mets acquired left-hander Eric O'Flaherty and cash from the Oakland Athletics late Tuesday for a player to be named.

O'Flaherty, 30, had been designated for assignment and had cleared waivers, making him eligible to be dealt. Although O'Flaherty has a 5.91 ERA in 25 relief appearances with Oakland, lefty batters are hitting only .186 against him this season.

The Mets designated left-hander Alex Torres for assignment to clear the roster spot.

"We feel like a lefty reliever was something that we could use -- a guy that was more of a strict left-on-left guy," assistant general manager John Ricco said. "And that's what Eric really is. So we had our eye on a number of different options and this one came together pretty quickly today. It gave us an opportunity to get a veteran left-on-left guy."

Ricco hopes O'Flaherty will arrive in time for Wednesday's 7:10 p.m. ET series finale against the Miami Marlins.

Torres had been ineffective since being acquired from the San Diego Padres on the eve of the season for right-hander Cory Mazzoni and player-to-be-named Brad Wieck. Overall, Torres had a 3.15 ERA, but he walked 26 batters in 34 1/3 innings and lefty batters were hitting .268 against him.

Mets coaches consulted with reliever Tyler Clippard on Tuesday before pulling the trigger to acquire O'Flaherty, a longtime member of the Atlanta Braves. Before being acquired by the Mets on July 27, Clippard pitched alongside O'Flaherty in Oakland's bullpen.

"Eric's coming off Tommy John from last year, and I feel like it took him a little while to get settled in throughout the season," Clippard said. "The last two or three weeks of playing with him in Oakland, he looked like himself. His velocity was one or two ticks higher than it was previously in the year. His sinker was back. He was throwing sliders for strikes. And it was the Eric O'Flaherty that I saw in Atlanta, as opposed to earlier in the year when he was just kind of scuffling, not really throwing strikes."

The Mets expect to get lefty specialist Jerry Blevins back from the disabled list before the season ends, but there is no precise timetable. Given the Mets are in a competitive race, team officials felt compelled to acquire a lefty specialist now.

The Mets (57-50) hold a one-game lead over Washington (55-50) for the top spot in the division.

Blevins, who suffered a fractured left forearm on April 19, finally was cleared to begin throwing Thursday. He has not yet returned to a mound. Lefty batters were 0-for-14 against Blevins to begin the season before he was struck with a line drive at Citi Field off the bat of Miami's Dee Gordon.

"Even with Jerry, we were working on getting another lefty," Ricco said. "With Jerry being out as long as he has been, we couldn't wait. Here was an opportunity to improve the club and we decided to move."