Phillies sign Jeurys Familia

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The Phillies agree with Reliever Jeury’s familypending an investigation, reports FanSided’s Robert Murray (Twitter link). It’s a $6 million one-year guarantee for the ACES customer, reports Mike Puma of the New York Post (Twitter connections). The deal also includes an additional $1 million in potential incentives.

Familia has a solid track record throughout his decade-long MLB career. He has six seasons with at least 20+ innings of sub-4.00 ERA balls, including a three-year peak when he was one of baseball‘s top late-game weapons. Familia was a dominant option for the Mets from 2014 through 2016, including a league-best 51 save campaign in 2016. The right’s strike rates were good, but not elite; Instead, he thrived by collecting ground balls with a massive clip.

Since that heyday, Familia’s performance has fluctuated. He followed up a solid performance in 2018 with a rocking campaign. Familias run prevention in 2020 (3.71 ERA in 26 2/3 innings) was fine, but his strikeout and walk numbers this year have been dismal. His ERA rose a bit last season to 3.94, but Familia’s K/BB scores were better. He knocked out an impressive 27.5% of opponents; His walking rate of 10.3% remained a little high, but represented a notable improvement from the 15.8% mark recorded the previous year.

As he has done throughout his career, Familia did a good job of keeping the ball on the ground. Last year’s 51% rate wasn’t at its peak, but it’s still well above the league average of 43.1% for bullpen guns. That undoubtedly appeals to a Philadelphia team playing in one of the league’s most hitter-friendly home stadiums. Familia’s home run rate has increased somewhat over the past season, but he’s traditionally excelled at keeping the ball in the yard.

He was also one of the toughest pitchers left in the free agent market. Familia averaged 97.3 MPH on his heater last season and he will give skipper Joe Girardi another arm of strength to rely on late in games. It’s possible the 32-year-old will even pick up some save opportunities. He’s worked in the middle innings for the past few seasons, but he’d obviously shown he could hit the ninth early in his career. Currently a co-signer of the off-season Corey Gag appears to be the favorite for saves, but the Phils didn’t promise him the closer role when they added him before the lockout. If Girardi prefers to use toggles earlier in high-leverage games, Familia could be an option to win a ninth-inning time.

Of course, it’s also possible that the Phillies will make another bullpen pickup or two in the coming weeks. Philadelphia’s lead retention problems in recent years are well documented. Last year, Phillie Relivers led the league in blown saves (34) with the Nationals. The Phils have seen Hector Neris and Archie Bradley Hit Free Agency (Bradley remains unsigned) and leaves Connor Brogdon as the only returning bullpen arm to pitch 20+ innings with an ERA under 4.00.

Image courtesy of USA Today Sports.

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