Free agent reliever Familia reaches deal to return to Mets

(AP Photo/Julie Jacobson, File)

By BEN WALKER


Associated Press

LAS VEGAS (AP) The revamped New York Mets bullpen is set to include a very familiar face - longtime reliever Jeurys Familia.

Familia reached agreement on a $30 million, three-year deal late Wednesday night with the team that traded him away last summer. The contract won't be complete until he passes a physical.

The 29-year-old righty will join a Mets bullpen that recently added major league saves leader Edwin Diaz in a trade with Seattle that also netted longtime All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano, a move made by new general manager Brodie Van Wagenen.

Before leaving the winter meetings Thursday, Van Wagenen said the Mets liked Familia because of his "age, performance, repertoire and comfort being able to handle our market." The GM said he also thought Familia would be a good influence on Diaz.

Familia had spent his entire career with New York before being traded to Oakland last July. This move likely means Familia will slide back into a setup role, where he flourished as a rookie in 2014.

Familia was a combined 8-6 with 18 saves in 24 chances and a 3.13 ERA for the Mets and A's last season. He has 123 career saves for the Mets, who signed him at age 17.

Craig Kimbrel, Andrew Miller, Adam Ottavino and David Robertson are among the other relievers on the free-agent market. Van Wagenen said the Mets would like to add a lefty but didn't anticipate it being a high-priced one.

"Would we play on multiple, high-end arms in the bullpen?" he said. "I don't think that's part of our strategy at this point."

The Mets, looking to bounce back from consecutive losing seasons, are hoping for a quick turnaround with Van Wagenen in charge. They still want to upgrade all over the diamond, and he said they made progress at the meetings.

"I know we wanted to be busy, we were," he said.

Familia posted 43 saves in 2015 when the Mets made it to the World Series. He led the majors with a franchise-record 51 saves the following year and was an All-Star, again helping New York reach the playoffs.

Familia served a 15-game suspension at the start of 2017 for violating Major League Baseball's domestic violence policy. Later that year, he had a blood clot that required surgery and finished 2-2 with a 4.38 ERA and six saves in 26 games.

Last season, he was 4-4 with a 2.88 ERA and 17 saves in 21 chances with the Mets. He struck out 43 and walked 14 in 40 appearances covering 40 2/3 innings.

The Mets got two minor leaguers from Oakland for Familia, acquiring Triple-A righty Bobby Wahl and Class A third baseman Will Toffey, and $1 million in international signing bonus pool allotment.

Working mostly as a setup man for A's closer Blake Treinen, Familia was 4-2 with one save and a 3.45 ERA in 30 games as Oakland earned an AL wild card.

Notes: The Mets picked RHP Kyle Dowdy from Cleveland in the Rule 5 draft. The 25-year-old was a combined 9-12 with a 5.15 ERA in the minors for Detroit and the Indians last season. Van Wagenen said Dowdy can throw fastballs in the upper 90s mph and good breaking balls, and can start or relieve.

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Updated December 13, 2018