After serving his 15-game suspension under Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy, Jeurys Familia has returned to help the New York Mets shore up the back end of their bullpen.
After hanging around the middle of the league without him, a big part of Familia coming back means others won’t be used, or relied on anymore. For example, Rafael Montero has been sent back to Triple-A Las Vegas with his career 5.51 ERA. Through 6 relief appearances and 6.2 innings pitched, Montero gave up 16 hits, seven earned runs and eight walks. In his major-league appearances, he has just not cut it. His time with the Mets seems to be coming to an end. Sean Gilmartin was also sent down with catcher Kevin Plawecki being called up.
Per ESPN, Familia spoke about his return to New York after his suspension:
"“I can’t wait to get back on that mound. I’m very happy to be back with this team. I’ve missed these guys very much.”"
Familia’s 2015 was his coming out party, regular season-wise. Through 76 games and 78 innings pitched, Familia closed the door on 43 games. He gave up 59 hits and struck out 86, just under ten strikeouts per nine innings.
With Familia coming back, it also shifts some back-end bullpen guys to their regular spots. Addison Reed, the closer for the duration of time that Familia missed, was the major-league holds leader last season with 40. Through 9 appearances and 9.2 innings pitched, Reed was 0-1 and gave up only 7 hits. While his ERA was 3.72, he also saved 4 games in 4 opportunities while walking none, something that catches your attention.
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Another name that will be successful with Familia returning is Fernando Salas. Pitching well already this season, he will be slotted down to the 7th inning for New York. Already appearing in 9 games and pitching through 9.1 innings, Salas is 0-1 with a 2.89 ERA. One thing he has to work on so far this season are his walks. While he didn’t walk any last season during his time with New York (17.1 innings), he has already walked 4. You would have to attribute that to being overused, so it should slow down somewhat.
While relievers like Jerry Blevins and Hansel Robles may be used in batter to batter situations to help preserve them, look for this to help the Mets rotation as well. Not wanting to overuse them, especially early in the season because of injury problems (Steven Matz and Seth Lugo, already), it gives manager Terry Collins a little more breathing room if he wants to pull guys with a somewhat high pitch count.
Rather than, for example, pull Jacob deGrom in the 6th inning and wing it from a lefty/righty standpoint, you have set guys for essentially the last three innings. In the long run, that’ll help this team. Once the offense starts to pick it up, the Mets have a very strong team from their lineup to their rotation and bullpen.
With his problems over the last two post seasons, Familia has been one of the most reliable closers in all of baseball. His presence in the back end of the bullpen allows other guys to not only do their jobs, but to do the jobs they were essentially brought in to do. Salas and Reed were brought in to help stabilize a bullpen that can hand the ball to Jeurys Familia to close out games. I think with Familia back, New York would be very happy to have a lead in the 7th inning and hand the ball to their bullpen. While you’d rather have your starters go deeper in game, Familia makes all the difference in the world for the New York Mets bullpen.