Familia agrees to return to Mets on 3-year deal

December 13th, 2018

NEW YORK -- Raised from his teenage years in the Mets organization, 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 officially reacquired one of their own on Friday, signing Familia to a three-year contract. It's worth $30 million, according to multiple sources.
"We are excited to bring Jeurys back to Flushing," Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen said. "Jeurys is a familiar face and an accomplished, elite reliever with experience that will fit well in our clubhouse."

In Familia, the Mets have a potentially dynamic setup man to pair with , the closer they acquired earlier this month in a seven-player deal with Seattle. The Mets' primary ninth-inning option from 2015-18, Familia set their 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 negatives; most notably he was suspended 15 games in 2017 for violating Major League Baseball's joint domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse policy. Additionally, he blew three saves in four World Series appearances in 2015, though defensive issues behind him played significant roles in two of them.

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 , 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).
"There are a lot of people in our organization that are comfortable with him," Van Wagenen said.

Now 29 years old, Familia will return to New York in a different role. He, Diaz, and are locks for the 2019 bullpen, and the Mets are still searching for a left-handed option to complement them. Before signing Familia, they showed interest in free agent , but Van Wagenen indicated the Mets' budget will likely prohibit them from adding another reliever on an eight-figure deal. Other cheaper options include Zach Duke, , and .
"Would we play on multiple high-end arms in the bullpen? I don't think that's part of our strategy at this point," Van Wagenen said.
No matter whom else they acquire, the Mets will flesh out their relief corps with some combination of youngsters, drawing from a pool including , , Tim Peterson, , , Wahl, Daniel Zamora and Rule 5 pick Kyle Dowdy. Their hope is to transform a bullpen that ranked 28th in MLB last season with a 4.96 ERA.
"Trying to improve our bullpen was a real priority this offseason," Van Wagenen said. "Once we got Diaz in the fold, we thought that if we could keep pushing forward and be aggressive on some of the top guys in the market in the bullpen, it would be a huge win."

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 Mets manager Mickey 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."