NEW YORK -- At the beginning of the offseason, Jeurys Familia told his agent that, all things being equal, he would like to sign with a team to be its closer. One of baseball's best ninth-inning specialists the past four seasons, Familia wanted a chance to extend that success into
NEW YORK -- At the beginning of the offseason, Jeurys Familia told his agent that, all things being equal, he would like to sign with a team to be its closer. One of baseball's best ninth-inning specialists the past four seasons, Familia wanted a chance to extend that success into his 30s.
The only thing he wanted more was a return to New York.
"I told my agent if there's any possibility of coming back," Familia said Monday on a conference call, "I'm here."
That possibility developed quickly, as the Mets pursued Familia as a setup man for new closer Edwin Diaz. At the Winter Meetings, the two sides negotiated details, striking a three-year, $30 million deal that became official Friday.
"Like always, I say I just want to do my job and try to do the best I can to win games every day," Familia said. "That's it. I'm so excited to have Edwin on the team, because he's one of the best relievers in the game, the best closers. It's going to be fun."
Signed at age 17 out of the Dominican Republic, Familia grew up in the Mets organization, broke into the Majors in 2012 and spent the first six and a half years of his career in New York. A 2018 Trade Deadline deal sent him to Oakland, but while Familia enjoyed the pennant chase with the A's, at least part of his mind remained back home.
That is why, when new general manager Brodie Van Wagenen came calling, Familia jumped at the chance to return to New York. Though Familia had never met Van Wagenen personally, he has met Diaz, whom the Mets acquired with Robinson Cano in a seven-player deal on Dec. 3. Diaz and Familia give the Mets one of the best one-two punches out of the bullpen in all of baseball.
Diaz is just 24 years old and Familia is 29, giving the Mets confidence that their production levels will not drop in 2019.
"It means a lot to me," Familia said of his return to New York. "Twelve years in the organization between the Minor Leagues and the big leagues, it's like a family for me. That's why I'm here today. It doesn't matter what inning I pitch -- I came back here to win and get a championship."
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo, Instagram and Facebook.