Thursday, December 13, 2018

Sources: Familia agrees to return to Mets



Raised from his teenage years in the Mets organization, Jeurys Familia has long professed his love for the city and the team. He now has plenty of time to grow reacquainted. To fortify their bullpen, the Mets reacquired one of their own late Wednesday night, signing Familia to a three-year contract worth $30 million.

Familia agrees to return to Mets

Multiple sources reported the deal, which is pending a physical. The Mets have not confirmed.

In Familia, the Mets have a potentially dynamic setup man to pair with Edwin Diaz, their newly acquired closer. The Mets' primary ninth-inning option from 2015-18, Familia set the Mets' single-season saves record with 51 in 2016, also earning a trip to the All-Star Game. But Familia's time in New York was not without its warts; he blew three saves in four World Series appearances in 2015, and he was suspended 15 games for violating Major League Baseball's joint domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse policy in 2017.


Familia also missed much of the 2017 season after undergoing surgery to repair an arterial clot in his right shoulder, but he returned to post a 2.88 ERA in 40 appearances for them last year. With the Mets out of contention in July, the team shipped Familia to Oakland for a pair of prospects, third baseman Will Toffey and reliever Bobby Wahl, plus $1 million in international bonus pool money.

Overall, Familia owns a 2.73 ERA in seven seasons. His 123 saves with the Mets rank third in franchise history, trailing John Franco (276) and Armando Benitez (160).

Now 29 years old, Familia is primed become a cog of the Mets' bullpen once more. He, Diaz, Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman are locks for the 2019 bullpen, and the Mets are still searching for a left-handed option to complement them. They have shown interest in free agent Andrew Miller, whom manager Mickey Callaway coached in Cleveland, though plenty of cheaper options also exist on the market. Earlier this month, the Mets received Diaz and Robinson Cano in a seven-player deal with the Mariners.

No matter whom else they acquire, the Mets will flesh out their bullpen with some combination of youngsters, including Tyler Bashlor, Eric Hanhold, Tim Peterson, Paul Sewald, Drew Smith, Bobby Wahl and Daniel Zamora. Their hope is to transform a bullpen that ranked 28th in MLB last season with a 4.96 ERA.


For Familia, the deal is also a homecoming. Signing with the Mets as a 17-year-old out of the Dominican Republic in 2007, Familia rapidly developed into one of the organization's best starting-pitching prospects alongside Matt Harvey and Zack Wheeler. Shortly after the Mets converted him to relief in 2012, Familia broke into the Majors, becoming their closer two years later. He made his home in New Jersey and has spoken warmly of his love for New York, where he became one of baseball's best relievers.

Since 2015, Familia ranks sixth in MLB with 118 saves, though Callaway left little doubt this week as to his intentions for the ninth inning.

"Diaz is going to be our closer, for several reasons," Callaway said. "He had great success in that role last year. I would hate to take him out of that role."


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