Yesterday afternoon, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reported the Oakland Athletics’ interest in New York Mets’ closer Jeurys Familia. By last night, the two teams had a framework on a deal according to ESPN’s Buster Olney. Now everything is official and Jeurys Familia will be in the back of the A’s bullpen.
The Oakland Athletics have acquired closer Jeurys Familia from the New York Mets for a package of minor leaguers and international pool money. Familia will solidify an A’s bullpen that, while anchored by closer Blake Treinen, has had a revolving door of 7th and 8th inning relievers.
The A’s released Opening Day setup man Santiago Casilla earlier this week and a string of recent blown leads surely motivated this deal. Familia was one of the best closers in the majors in 2015 and 2016. He led the league in saves over the span (94), struck out 170 batters, and held opponents to a 2.20 ERA.
Familia was a big part of the 2015 New York Mets’ team that reached the world series. However, he was also a big part of the Mets’ loss to the Kansas City Royals. He gave up 1 earned run in nearly 20 postseason innings, but he struggled holding inherited runners in the world series and ended up with 3 blown saves.
He missed a large part of last season with an arterial clot in his shoulder and early this season spent some time on the DL. However, since his return he has been very good in New York. This season, Familia has converted 17 saves in 40 appearances. He has struck out over a batter an inning and has a 2.88 ERA.
Familia joins an Oakland Athletics team that is 12 games above .500 and 4.0 GB of the Seattle Mariners for the second wild-card spot. While, it may seem like their is noticeable difference between the A’s and the playoffs, no other American League team is above .500 and not currently in the playoffs. If one team falters the A’s are the only team in position to take their spot.
The Oakland Athletics parted with Bobby Wahl, William Toffey, and international slot money. Toffey, a third baseman, ranks 17th on the A’s top 30 prospect list by MLB.com. Neither appeared ranked on FanGraphs prospect list, but were both listed as “prospects of note.”
Toffey, a 4th round pick in 2017, has struggled at High-A Stockton so far this year with a .244/.357/.384 triple-slash. Toffey has good bat control and plate discipline, but fringe defense at third and a lack of any plus tools makes him a marginal prospect at best. Scouts have speculated that Toffey could profile at catcher, so it will be interesting to see how the Mets handle him.
Wahl, a 26 year old reliever, has dominated in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. Wahl has struck out 65 batters against 17 walks and 10 earned runs in 39.2 innings. Wahl has suffered from a series of arm injuries over his career, but at his best throws a fastball that sits in the high-90s.
The prospect return seems underwhelming. However, I’m speculating the international slot money (a reportedly $1m) may actually be the most important piece for the Mets. The top prospect available in this signing period, outfielder Victor Victor Mesa, came over from Cuba after most teams had agreed to deals to spend their allotted spending. If the Mets acquire a couple million dollars in pool money they could see the coveted Cuban as the real prize of the deal.