Phillies sign Familia, bolstering bullpen

March 15th, 2022

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Phillies on Tuesday finalized a one-year deal with hard-throwing right-hander Jeurys Familia, who went 9-4 with a 3.94 ERA in 65 appearances last season with the Mets. The New York Post reported it will be a one-year, $6 million contract, but the team has not confirmed the value of the deal.

Familia, 32, is another veteran arm for a bullpen that added right-hander Corey Knebel just before the lockout in December. Knebel is projected to be the team’s closer, although Familia has experience in the role.

Familia is 32-25 with a 3.28 ERA and 125 saves in his 10-year career. He saved an MLB-best 51 games in 2016, when he was a National League All-Star. He saved 18 games in 2018, but only one total in the past three seasons.

Familia has been a workhorse throughout his career, making 65 or more appearances in six of the past eight years. He was suspended 15 games by Major League Baseball in 2017 for violating the Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy. The suspension stemmed from Familia's arrest on Oct. 31, 2016, on a simple assault charge. Prosecutors later dropped the charges, and Familia did not stand trial.

Familia primarily throws a sinker, slider and four-seam fastball. His sinker is his primary pitch. It averaged 96.4 mph last season and induced a lot of ground balls. His 51% ground-ball rate ranked 30th among the 144 qualified relievers, according to FanGraphs. But Familia can strike out batters, too. His strikeout rate (27.5%) was his best mark since 2018, and ranked 50th among qualified relivers.

Knebel and Familia are expected to join José Alvarado, Connor Brogdon, Sam Coonrod and Seranthony Domínguez in the Phillies’ bullpen. There will be others. It would not be a surprise to see the Phillies acquire at least one more veteran reliever to help the bullpen, which has been a weak spot in recent years.

Besides potentially another reliever, the Phillies still need a left fielder, center fielder, starting pitching depth and bench depth. They have been linked to every big corner outfield bat on the market: Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, Nick Castellanos and Michael Conforto. The Phillies were trying to land Schwarber just before the lockout, but it did not happen.

There are not many center fielders on the market, so the Phillies might have to trade for one. Tampa Bay’s Kevin Kiermaier and Oakland’s Ramon Laureano have been connected to the Phillies. The Athletic mentioned third baseman Matt Chapman as a possibility, although he will not come cheaply.