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With free agency looming, Jeurys Familia sends heartfelt message to Mets fans

Jeurys Familia of the. Mets reacts after coming

Jeurys Familia of the. Mets reacts after coming off the mound during the eighth inning against the Phillies at Citi Field on Sept. 17. Credit: Getty Images/Sarah Stier

ATLANTA — It wasn’t the same as the last-inning, highlight-reel play followed by a standing ovation from the home crowd and emotional embraces with teammates that pending free agent Michael Conforto received as a potential Mets swan song. But Jeurys Familia made his own goodbye Saturday, and the sentiment was about as strong.

Familia, whose contract also expires after this season, authored a heartfelt message to Mets fans and posted it on Instagram during what might be the final days of his time with the team. He said before the Mets’ 6-5 loss to Atlanta that he wrote it himself.

"I have no words to describe all my feelings for New York," he wrote. "I know that things have not been easy but every day that I get out of bed one of the first things that cross my mind is what to do to be better and give the best to the best fans in the world of baseball. The Mets organization gave me the opportunity to see my dream come true and I will never forget it.

"I have a very large tattoo in the depths of my heart that says Mets for life. For the fans, despite all the boos, bad words and everything bad that they may think of me or wish me, I put myself in their chair and I understand it perfectly. They have been waiting for a championship for many years and they will always occupy an important space in my life."

 

Although he is not the longest-tenured Mets player because of the July 2018 trade to the Athletics, Familia has spent more time with the team than anybody else, parts of all 10 of his major-league seasons.

His most painful on-field moments, including three blown saves during the 2015 World Series, belie his impressive track record, which includes a 3.27 ERA. He is third on the Mets’ all-time saves list with 124 (behind Armando Benitez, who had 160, and John Franco, 276). After emerging as the closer in 2015, Familia led the majors with 51 saves in 2016, his lone All-Star season.

Familia loved the Mets — and their three-year, $30 million offer — enough that he returned for a lesser role after the 2018 season, serving as a setup man for Edwin Diaz. He has a 4.62 ERA on that deal but has been much better the past two seasons.

Might he be back for more? Familia, who turns 32 this month, has shown he still can be an effective, if wild, reliever. And the desire is there on his part.

"Thank you," Familia concluded. "LGM for life."

Notes & quotes: Francisco Lindor collected his 1,000th career hit, a triple against Dylan Lee in the eighth inning . . . Robert Gsellman, who had been out with a torn right lat since June, allowed one run in one inning against Atlanta, in his return from the 60-day injured list . . . The Mets optioned Tylor Megill, who made his last start Friday night, to Triple-A Syracuse and designated Brandon Drury for assignment . . . After a torn ligament in his left thumb put him on the IL three times in seven weeks, Tomas Nido will see a hand specialist, according to manager Luis Rojas, who did not rule out Nido needing surgery . . . Jose Martinez’s season ended in mid-September with a lower-back problem, which followed issues with his knee, shoulder and hip. "We decided and he decided — it was mutual — to just shut it down for the season and work on it and rehab and see if he can get better," Rojas said. Martinez did not play in a major-league game after signing a $1 million contract in January. He might play winter ball, which he usually does in his native Venezuela . . . Despite numerous questions about his elbow, his weird season, how this offseason might be different from usual and his ability to opt out of his contract a year from now, Jacob deGrom declined to comment Saturday.

New York Sports