The MLB trade rumors kicked up immediately on Friday night as the New York Mets moved into the bottom of the ninth and closer Jeurys Familia remained locked on the bench in the bullpen.
The Mets opted for a two-inning save from converted starter Robert Gsellman while Familia remained on the bench wearing a sweatshirt, leading to rumors that the Mets are close to a deal for their longtime closer. That seemed to be confirmed after the game when Mets beat writers including the New York Post’s Mike Puma reported that the team is holding Familia out because a trade is imminent.
It’s not clear yet who the Mets could be trading Familia to, but he seems very likely to move before the trade deadline given that he’s in the last year of a contract and the Mets are far from playoff contention. Friday’s win over the Yankees helped the Mets crawl back to 15 games below.500, a disappointing season especially after a hot start in April.
There had been speculation coming out of the MLB All Star break that the Chicago Cubs were close in the running for Familia, but reporters have noted that they do not appear in contention. ESPN’s Buster Olney reported that the Oakland Athletics could be a potential target, which the San Francisco Chronicle confirmed.
Mets are working to finish a trade of closer Jeurys Familia. Oakland among the team with interest; Cubs not involved.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 21, 2018
Others reported that close to a dozen teams across MLB had expressed interest in Familia.
Mets have gotten to the point of exchanging names with teams on Jeurys Familia trades. Nothing is imminent but bet on him moving well before deadline. 7-8 teams have shown varying degrees of interest, plenty of scouts to see him tonight— Andy Martino (@martinonyc) July 20, 2018
Others noted that Familia appeared to be saying goodbyes to some of his fellow bullpen pitchers at the conclusion of Friday’s win over the Yankees.
Familia is third all-time for the Mets in saves with 123. He was dominant in 2015 and 2016, recording 94 saves over that period and helping lead the Mets to two consecutive playoff appearances, including a World Series appearance in 2015. That series was a rough one for Familia, who blew three saves as the Mets defense made a series of late-game blunders behind him as they lost 4-1 to the Kansas City Royals.
Familia could still return to the Mets, even if he finishes the 2018 season elsewhere. An article published in The Athletic less than an hour after the game ended on Friday night indicated that Familia sees a long-term future with the team. Familia would be a free agent after this season is over.
So far, the New York Mets have not commented on the trade rumors surrounding Jeurys Familia, but his days with the team now appear to be numbered.