Boston Red Sox Rumors: Jeurys Familia could be the solution in the pen

Jeurys Familia #27 of the New York Mets (Photo by Adam Hagy/Getty Images)
Jeurys Familia #27 of the New York Mets (Photo by Adam Hagy/Getty Images) /

The Boston Red Sox offseason plans are starting to heat up. With the MLB hot stove in full swing, particularly for the pitching market, the Sox have been involved in all sorts of rumors. While they haven’t ended up pulling the trigger on anyone yet, that doesn’t mean they aren’t going to in the future.

We have already seen Eduardo Rodriguez depart for the Detroit Tigers, Justin Verlander re-sign with the Houston Astros, and recently, Steven Matz sign with the St. Louis Cardinals. These were all guys that the Sox were rumored to be at least interested in, and they were reportedly one of the final teams in the running for Matz. There are still tons of pitchers available, so there’s no sense in panicking just yet.

While the pitching market has been on fire early on, we have seen Boston’s front office continue to look into different areas that other teams aren’t necessarily involved in yet. Just last week, it was reported that the Sox were looking into making a run for Javier Baez to help fill in their infield. Now a new report has come out that the Red Sox are looking into the potential bullpen options available on the market, with Jeurys Familia being one of the top names on their list.

In a very deep free agent class, the bullpen market is somewhat lacking. We have seen one of the big names, Kendall Graveman, come off the board and sign with the Chicago White Sox, and he was one of the guys I thought the Boston Red Sox should look into signing coming into the offseason. In a relatively dry bullpen market though, Familia could end up being the hidden gem of the market.

The Boston Red Sox could have unearthed a gem in Jeurys Familia

Familia has had quite an interesting career, most of which he has spent with the New York Mets. Familia established himself as a dominant setup man during his rookie season in 2014, and he formed a deadly late-inning combination with Jenrry Mejia that season. Familia would take over the closer role in 2015, and he took the role and ran with it.

2015 and 2016 were easily the two best seasons of Familia’s career. Familia posted a 1.85 ERA to go along with 43 saves in his first season in the role. While his ERA went up to 2.55 in 2016, Familia upped his save total to a league leading 51, which earned him his first and only All-Star appearance, and a 17th place finish in the National League MVP race.

Over the ensuing five seasons, Familia wouldn’t even reach half of that 51 save output he achieved in 2016. Familia struggled to stay healthy over the next two seasons, and he was eventually traded to the Oakland Athletics in 2018. Familia would re-sign with the Mets the ensuing offseason, but he didn’t return to the closer role that he made his own during his first few seasons.

Familia served as a middle to late innings arm, but pretty much never picked up a save. In fact, over the last three seasons, Familia picked up just one save. But he has experience closing, and there’s a real shortage of that on the market right now.

The Boston Red Sox plan to roll with Matt Barnes as the closer worked perfectly for the first half of the season, but he crumbled in the second half of the season, and he can’t realistically be counted on as the closer heading into next season. Other closing options, such as Hansel Robles and Adam Ottavino, are free agents, and don’t have the pedigree that Familia has closing out games. Both function better as setup guys, whereas Familia has more experience as a closer.

Aside from maybe using Garrett Whitlock as the closer, it appears Boston is going to have to bring in outside help to address the backend of the bullpen. Maybe Barnes rediscovers his first half form, but you really can’t afford to give him the closer role of a team that now has World Series aspirations. Familia may not be the safest bet on the market, but he’s got experience closing games, and even if he isn’t the closer, he’s a solid late innings arm.

Familia’s most recent contract with the Mets had him earning an average value of $10 million per year. But the Mets also paid for a guy they probably assumed would be closing games. Given that Familia hasn’t been closing games recently, and he’s already 32 years old, he probably won’t command that much this time around.

Familia will probably get somewhere between $5-8 million per year on his new deal, and it could be anywhere from 1-3 years. If Familia’s market doesn’t develop as expected, which could happen considering he’s not one of the top options available, the Sox could pick him up for cheap. If that’s the case, Boston should absolutely make an offer for the former star closer.

Next. The Red Sox should make Marcus Stroman their priority. dark

Familia could end up being a steal for whatever team that signs him if he is used correctly. He’s shown signs of consistency over recent seasons, although his ERA has sat in the high threes over the past two seasons, which is a bit worrying for a potential closer candidate.

Who knows, maybe Familia could turn back the clock and pull off a comeback season as the Boston Red Sox closer. They don’t really have many other options, so he may just be worth taking a chance on.