TODAY: The deal is now official. Familia will receive a $2MM signing bonus and $6MM salary in 2019, with $11MM salaries in the two ensuing seasons, per Rosenthal (Twitter link). $1MM apiece of the 2020 and 2021 salaries is deferred to 2022. Familia can add $500K if he reaches fifty games finished and would receive a $1MM assignment bonus if traded.
YESTERDAY: The Mets are turning to an old friend to reinforce their bullpen, as the club has reportedly agreed to a deal with free agent right-hander Jeurys Familia, Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reports (via Twitter). The contract is pending a physical. MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi reports that it will be a three-year pact, while The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that Familia will earn $30MM over the course of the contract (all Twitter links). Familia is represented by the ACES agency.
Originally signed out of the Dominican Republic by the Mets in 2007, Familia spent his entire professional career with the organization before he was dealt to the A’s last July. The right-hander posted a combined 3.13 ERA, 2.96 K/BB rate, and a career-high 10.4 K/9 over 72 innings for New York and Oakland, racking up a total of 18 saves along the way.
Familia had excellent numbers with the Mets from 2014-16, emerging as the team’s closer and recording 94 saves over those latter two seasons. In a troubled 2017 season, he was suspended for the first 15 games under the league and players union’s joint domestic violence policy after being arrested on assault charges the previous fall. Familia also spent over three months on the DL after undergoing surgery to fix an arterial clot in his throwing shoulder.
The 29-year-old had a brief DL stint due to shoulder soreness again in 2018, but overall looked healthy and more or less his old self on the mound. Familia averaged 96.2 mph on his fastball (making him one of the harder-throwing relievers in the game), while posting a 14.1% swinging strike rate that topped his 13.6% career average. The focus on strikeouts led to a drop to a 46.3% grounder rate, after Familia posted no worse than a 57.3% ground ball rate over his previous four seasons.
Familia will be returning to Citi Field as a setup man, now that the Mets have added Edwin Diaz to serve as their new closer. The combination of Diaz and Familia gives the team an impressive combo for the eighth and ninth innings, and already provides a big upgrade to a bullpen that struggled with consistency in 2018. It wouldn’t be surprising to see New York explore other moves to augment the relief corps, as Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman might be the only current relievers who could be considered locks for the Opening Day roster.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.