Familia signs with Phillies

Well, this could end up being an addition by subtraction but I get the feeling the Mets may end up missing the righty. Jeurys Familia has signed a one year deal with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Familia’s contract is worth approximately $6M and can go as high as approximately $7M. The sinker ball pitcher is a career 32-25 pitcher with 3.28 ERA in 498.2 innings pitched.

During the 2021 campaign, Familia went 9-4 with an ERA 3.94 in 59.1 innings.

The deal comes a few hours after the Mets and Athletics struck up a trade for starting pitcher Chris Bassitt.

How do you solve a problem like Familia?

By Fred Aaron,

Going into the off-season, one of the biggest problems confronting Mets’ GM Brodie Van Wagenen was the collapse of the bullpen.  For a second straight season, Met relievers turned into arsonists instead of firemen (unless your idea of a fireman is taken from Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451).  This past season, one of the biggest culprits was the previously reliable Jeurys Familia.  During his first stint with the team, from 2012 to the All Star Break in 2018, Familia had recorded 123 saves over 313 appearances, all in relief except for a spot start in his rookie year of 2012.  Diving deeper into the number shows that he had only allowed 95 earned runs over the span of 321.1 innings pitched, while striking out 329 batters, walking only 129, and giving up 14 home runs.  This gave Familia a pitching slash line of 2.66ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 0.39 HR/9, 9.22 K/9, and 3.61 BB/9.  These stats were good enough to land Familia a spot on the 2016 NL All Star Team.  After his trade to the A’s in 2018, Familia pretty much replicated these numbers with a 3.45 ERA, 1.213 WHIP, 0.6 HR/9, and 11.5 K/9.  The only number that should have given pause was an elevated 4.0 BB/9, almost a half point higher than his career average.  This increase in wildness seemed to come with a greater percentage of strikeouts.  This may yield a possible solution to the problem.

Rookie GM Brodie, looking to rebuild the Mets bullpen for the 2019 season, gave Familia a 3-year, $30 million contract.  To give the Mets more wiggle room with the budget, the parties agreed to backend load the money, paying $6,666,666 for 2019, with the Mets on the hook for $11,666,667 for the remaining two years.  This makes moving Familia difficult, since any trade partner would have to take on this salary, or have the Mets eat a substantial portion of the salary in order to trade Familia.  In addition, Familia is entitled to a $1 million trade bonus if he is traded during each of these years.  In this sense, he has become an immovable object for the Mets, so a solution must be found since he will probably be here for the 2020 season.  

Let’s look at the numbers for 2019 (and no, this is not an early Halloween scare tactic, but these numbers are not for the faint of heart).  Familia posted a horrid 5.70 ERA, with a 1.733 WHIP, caused in large part by his 6.3 BB/9, almost double what he had posted during his first time with the team.  Control was clearly a problem for Jeurys in 2019, a continuation of the issue that arose during his brief tenure in Oakland.  However, his K/9 was also up at 9.5, a result of striking out 63 batters in 60 innings.  Also troubling was his 1.1 HR/9.  However, this was a problem for the entire Mets bullpen, as well as most of the league, as the MLB set a record for home runs in a season.  

So, how do you solve this problem?  Clearly, Familia is not suffering from “Ed Whitson Syndrome,” which is where an otherwise good player crumbles under the pressure of performing for a big market team like the Mets, Yankees, Red Sox, or Cubs. This might be the situation with Familia’s bullpen mate Edwin Diaz, but that is the topic for another article.  Familia had pitched in New York before and never shown signs of a nervous breakdown.   Instead, it may have to do with reduced velocity due to age, and pitch selection.  Fangraphs has shown that Jeurys was not hitting 100 mph with his fastball as he had done in prior years.  Also, the Mets had pushed him to rely primarily on his slider and sinker, reducing the use of his four-seamer, and completely abandoning his splitter.  Each of these other two weapons had been out pitches for him in prior years.  This year also saw a great many pitchers complaining about the new baseballs being slicker, making it harder to throw sliders effectively.  We saw this with Noah Syndergaard and Edwin Diaz, both of whom who got consistently burned on sliders throughout the 2019 season.

In closing, there is hope that the Mets can solve a problem like Familia just like the nuns solved the problem called Maria.  Of course, it doesn’t mean making him the governess to a family of an Austrian widower.  Rather, there are a number of ways that are fairly easy to achieve with the right coaching staff.  One way is having Familia utilize all four pitches in his arsenal again.  Also, the walks could be reduced by having him pitch more to soft contact instead of going for swings-and-misses.  There appears to be a correlation between his rise in strikeouts and the doubling of his rate of walks.  Improvements in the Mets defense should also help a guy like Familia who gives up a great deal of grounders.  In 2019, Familia’s FIP (fielding independent pitching) was 4.88, showing that the Mets’ defense may have cost Familia almost an extra run per 9 innings.  Finally, the home runs may go down if the home run bonanza of 2019 turns out to be an anomaly across the league.  A return to his career numbers would make Familia a valuable piece of the Mets bullpen once again, something that the team will definitely need heading into the 2020 season.

Also read: Free Agent Reliever options: Brad Brach

Familia talks about his early struggles

Juerys Familia spoke to reporters after the loss to the Yankees in which Familia pitched a scoreless ninth inning. He told reporters that the Mets coaching staff has shown him videos of last year and was explaining that he had an 84% extension.

This season his extension percentage is at 75-77 and is believed to be the reason of his struggles.

“I was finishing a little bit too short. So with me finishing short, I was letting the ball go too early… This is the best outing I’ve felt all year”

I’m not too sure what an extension percentage is but I’m guessing it has to do with his release point in his delivery.

Source: Matt Ehalt

MetsJunkies Wednesday Night Recap

J.D. Davis drove in the Mets first and only run in the 3rd inning with an RBI double. The 3rd baseman is batting .275 after hitting his 5th double of the season.

Jeff McNeil reached base twice with a base on balls and an infield single, snapping an 0-8 skid. McNeil is now batting .352 on the year.

Drew Gagnon pitched 2.2 innings, giving up just 3 hits and striking out 1. The reliever has now lowered his ERA to 4.09.

Tyler Bashlor pitched 2 scoreless innings, not allowing a hit while also striking out 1. The right handed Bashlor now owns an impressive 1.69 ERA in 5.1 innings.

Juerys Familia pitched a scoreless inning of his own, striking out 1 and lowering his ERA to 5.87. This is Familia’s first appearance since returning from the Injured List.

Mets Top Prospect and shortstop Andres Gimenez went 3-5 today for the Binghamton Rumble Ponies. He’s 7-13 in his last three games.

Arismendy Alcantara also went 3-5 for the Binghamton Rumble Ponies. The infielder is batting .305 with a .807 OPS.

Barrett Barnes drove in 2 runs while going 2-3 and showing a great eye at the plate, drawing 2 walks. Barnes is absolutely raking, he’s batting .339 with an incredible .994 OPS for Binghamton.

Patrick Mazeika went 3-4 with 6 RBI’s for the Rumble Ponies.

Takeaways from Monday’s game vs Reds

  • Conforto doubled and put the Mets in the hit column in the second, as well as scoring a run. He later worked a full count and drew a walk, going 1-4 with a run scored.
  • Wilson Ramos got his 3rd extra base hit of the season with his second inning double with an exit velocity of 104.3 MPH, driving in Conforto. Ramos would finish the night going 1-4 with a RBI, his 25th, and run scored.
  • Amed Rosario immediately followed with a single up the middle, driving in Ramos for his 17th RBI of the year. Rosario would also go 1-4 in tonight’s contest.
  • Pete Alonso and Brandon Nimmo would both walk with the bases loaded, back to back in the bottom of the fourth inning to tie the game, an inning that consisted of 4 walks. Alonso now has 25 RBI’s this season.
  • While it’s not the “normal” multi-hit game for Jeff McNeil, he did pick up 3 walks.
  • Seth Lugo pitched a scoreless 6th inning, lowering his ERA to 4.08.
  • Juerys Familia pitched a scoreless 7th, getting out of a jam. His ERA is now 5.68.

The Mets will send Jason Vargas to the mound (1-1, 7.20 ERA) to take on the Reds and their ace Luis Castillo (3-1, 1.23 ERA.), Castillo has the lowest ERA in the league. The game will take place at Citi Field, 7:10 PM.

Takeaways from tonight’s win

    Although Matz got off to a bumpy start, a stretch of 13 in a row retired put him back on track to the good start to his season. Tonight he went 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 8 K’s and has a 1.65 ERA. Matz would also get his first win of the season (1-0).
    Amed Rosario was smoking the ball. He hit a three run shot in the second inning to help the Mets regain the lead. He also lined out to centerfield, which wasn’t far off from a double or another home run. Even when he didn’t hit the ball hard, he produced an RBI single with a grounder to the right side for his fourth RBI. He would end up going 2-4.
    Juan Lagares reached bases twice with a single and a walk.
    Pete Alonso hit his 6th home run, a 454 foot two run shot, in the centerfield pond with an exit velocity of 118.3MPH. He would go 2-4 with a walk on the evening and now has 17 RBI’s on the season.
    Wilson Ramos reached base 3 times with two walks and a line drive single.
    For the most part, the bullpen was good and did much better than they’d started out. Overall, the pen went three innings, giving up five hits, a walk, one run, with six strikeouts.

The Mets offense surges against Strasburg and the Nationals

The Mets square off against the Nationals for game two of the series and season with Noah Syndergaard going up against Stephen Strasburg. The two division rivals will meet 17 more times in the regular season, 11 more times before May 23rd.

“The Buffalo” Wilson Ramos lined a double over Adam Eaton’s head in right field, driving in Pete Alonso and Michael Conforto after the two hit a pair of singles. Jeff McNeil then tripled to center on a deep fly that probably should’ve be caught by Victor Robles, the hit put the Mets up by 3 in only the first inning.

Syndergaard gave one back to the Nationals in the bottom half of the inning, after a Anthony Rendon double, Noah gave up a softly hit R.B.I. single to Juan Soto with two outs before getting out of the inning with the Mets up 3-1.

Syndergaard drew a one out walk in the third inning against Strasburg, Pete Alonso proved that to be a mistake by Strasburg as he hit a two out, line drive double over the head of Robles in center. Alonso was credited with his first M.L. extra base hit as well as R.B.I. in his very young career making it a 4-1 ballgame.

Robles lead off the home third driving a long ball deep to left field for the home run off of a 95 MPH Syndergaard fastball, cutting the lead in half, 4-2. He then beaned Eaton in the elbow which lead Soto to drive in Eaton, putting the Nationals down by a run.

Ramos and McNeil lead the top half of the 8th off with a pair of singles, then a walk to Rosario after falling behind 1-2 to flamethrower Trevor Rosenthal. With the bases loaded, J.D. Davis delivered his first hit as a Met, putting the Mets back up by two. Kyle Barraclough came in for relief and before he threw a single pitch, he balked to bring Rosario in from third.

Alonso followed with his third hit of the day, as he smoked a double, his second of the game, off of the right field wall to drive in J.D. Davis, making it an 8-4 game.

Syndergaard would end up pitching six innings, giving up seven hits, four runs (All earned), while striking out seven and walking none on the afternoon. I still definitely think that he’ll be a in the top 3 in the Cy Young award race.

Familia got into a jam in the 8th with no help with J.D. Davis on the defensive side. Davis would commit an error on a routine grounder, allowing the Nationals to load the bases with two outs. As Dave Martinez decided to pinch hit for Brian Dozier with Matt Adams, Mickey Callaway countered by bringing in Seth Lugo. Adams in his career is 2-5 off of the Mets former closer.

Lugo would stay and get into a bases loaded jam in the 9th and proceed to give up four runs before Callaway would call upon Diaz to finish it up with one pitch to get Suzuki to fly out to Nimmo. Diaz would pick up his second save on an 11-8 win over the Nationals.

The Mets start the season off 2-0 with today’s win going to Justin Wilson, his first as a Met. Tomorrow Zack Wheeler will try to help the Mets sweep the Nationals as they put their big free agent acquisition lefty Patrick Corbin on the mound.

#FlashbackFriday Mets Edition: Familia sets a franchise record

In 2016, the Mets had high hopes to have another great run and make it into the playoffs as well as World Series as vindication for the season prior. Of course, the Mets made it to the World Series in 2015 where they had a great second half run that season, however that’s when they lost to the Kansas City Royals.

Even though a lot Mets fans do seem to have issues with Familia, in my opinion, he’s an elite reliever and I believe he’ll strengthen the bullpen this upcoming season and he’ll be a great mentor for Edwin Diaz to have around in a new place in New York. However, I digress.

In 2016, Familia set a franchise record for Saves in a single season when he recorded his 44th save of the year. He picked up his 44th save against the Marlins in a 5-2 victory.

He also set the record for most saves from a Dominican Republic native by passing both Jose Valverde (2011) and Francisco Cordero (2004), both had 49 saves.

Familia had this to say “I just want to thank God for giving me the ability and having me healthy these couple years… Then I want to say thank you to everybody in this room — my teammates, my coaches. That’s it. I’m so happy right now.