LAS VEGAS — Jeurys Familia is about to be a member of the Mets again.
Traded last July by the Mets, the only professional organization he had ever known, Familia agreed to terms early Thursday morning on a three-year, $30 million contract, pending a physical, to come back to Queens, sources confirmed.
Familia and closer Edwin Diaz, acquired earlier this month with Robinson Cano from the Mariners, give the Mets a formidable late-inning duo as new general manager Brodie Van Wagenen seeks to reconstruct the bullpen. Mets relievers ranked 28th in baseball last season with a 4.96 ERA.
This time, Familia is set up for a setup role, not the closer’s job he held from 2015 until being sent to the Athletics in July. Manager Mickey Callaway said Tuesday, before this deal was done, that Diaz would be the closer.
“Diaz is going to be our closer, for several reasons,” Callaway said. “He had great success in that role last year (57 saves, 1.96 ERA). I would hate to take him out of that role. He's comfortable. We've seen the success. We have a lot of confidence in some of our other guys that can come in in high-leverage situations and get outs.
“I love [Seth] Lugo, I love the way [Robert] Gsellman has continued to improve this year. To have another guy to go out there and put up zeros in the game would be nice to have.”
Now, Familia will be that guy after laying the groundwork for this return — in this capacity — slowly over the past year.
During spring training, when Callaway toyed with the idea of using his best reliever in a flexible, not-attached-to-the-ninth-inning role, Familia expressed an openness to pitching whenever the coaching staff desired. Then, as the Mets traded some of their veterans amid another losing season, Familia said he would enjoy signing with the Mets as a free agent this offseason, having come to know the city and club as well as he did over parts of seven major-league seasons.
And lastly, upon joining the A’s for a playoff push that ended with a loss to the Yankees in the AL wild-card game, Familia did well in a setup role. In 30 games, he had a 3.45 ERA and 1.21 WHIP.
Familia originally signed with the Mets as a 17-year-old out of the Dominican Republic in 2007. He has a career 2.73 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 124 saves, and in 2016 — his lone All-Star year — set a Mets single-season record with 51 saves.
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