The Athletics are “among the teams hoping to land” righty Jeurys Familia from the Mets, according to a report from Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. The Cubs are also showing interest in Familia, Jon Heyman of Fancred tweets.
It seems these organizations are hardly the only ones with interest. At least seven or eight contenders have made contact regarding Familia, according to reports from Andy Martino of SNY.tv and MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo. The precise timeline of a deal isn’t at all clear, and will surely depend upon how talks progress. But the Mets are already “exchanging names” of potential prospects with interested teams, Martino adds.
It really isn’t surprising to hear of this broad interest. Familia is an established closer who’ll hit the open market this fall after the struggling Mets wrap things up for the year. We recently tabbed Familia as the #2 player on our list of the top 75 trade deadline candidates. (The top name on the board, of course, has since been moved.)
Some might raise eyebrows, though, to hear that the A’s are one of the teams poking around. The club may only have hopes of challenging the Mariners for a Wild Card spot, after all, and getting Familia would mean offering more than motivated rivals. Plus, the Oakland club already has received impressive performances at the back of its bullpen.
Still, president of baseball operations Billy Beane has made clear he sees the deadline as a chance to get better. While the rotation remains a more obvious area of need, finding a significant improvement there may prove quite challenging given the supply-and-demand situation. And despite the good late-inning work from existing hurlers, modern baseball teams can never have enough good relief pitching. Indeed, the A’s just cut loose veteran righty Santiago Casilla, so they clearly aren’t fully satisfied with their current mix.
From the Mets’ perspective, the hope clearly will be that multiple contenders will push hard for Familia. Heading into the All-Star break, he had compiled 40 2/3 innings of 2.88 ERA ball with 9.5 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, and a 50.5% groundball rate. While there are plenty of talented relievers that could be had, relatively few of those are clearly slated to be dealt away by their current organizations. Zach Britton, Joakim Soria, and Fernando Rodney are perhaps the top alternative pitchers of this ilk.