Longtime Mets relief pitcher Jeurys Familia has certainly endured an up-and-down season this year.
Despite looking like a version of his former dominant self in the first-half, Familia has had rough go of it down the stretch, particularly with the long ball.
Due to his disappointing finish to the 2021 campaign, it seems like a no-brainer for the Mets to let him walk in free agency this winter.
However, there is still a chance that he could be retained, and here is why you shouldn't rule it out.
One source close to Familia believes the soon-to-be 32-year-old reliever will likely be seeking a two-year deal on the open market.
But, coming back to the Mets on a one-year contract is still possible, given Familia has spent his entire 10-year career with the organization, with the exception of the final two months of the 2018 season when the Mets traded him to the Oakland Athletics at the deadline.
Familia has also been raising his family in the suburbs of Northern New Jersey, and as he approaches the later stages of his career, staying put wouldn't be the worst thing for him at this point.
Although the right-hander received a substantial three-year, $30 million deal from former general manager Brodie Van Wagenen, which saw him return to the Mets during the 2019 offseason, beyond the money, it was an easy decision for him to come back since his heart still remained with the organization he grew up in.
Recently, Familia told Mike Puma of The New York Post he'd love to stay with the Mets, but understands the business side of the game.
“I like it here — I love it here,” Familia told The Post. “This is the team that gave me an opportunity to see my dream come true, but this is a business and anywhere I go I am going to try to do my best.”
Overall, Familia is tied for the Mets' team lead with nine wins this year, but his season didn't end the way he wanted it to. Regardless, he is still holding out hope that the Mets will show interest this winter.
On the other side of things, the Mets are in the hunt for a new president of baseball operations, so this decision will be up to whoever is brought in to run things.
And with imminent changes on the horizon, the Mets could just as easily look for cheaper options, who are capable of filling a similar role.
Additionally, re-signing Familia probably won't be high on the Mets' priority list, since they have a number of tough decisions to make on what to do with Michael Conforto, Marcus Stroman, Javier Báez, Noah Syndergaard and Aaron Loup, who are all about to be free agents.
One thing Familia does have going in his favor though, is that Edwin Diaz, Trevor May, Miguel Castro and Seth Lugo are the only members of the Mets' bullpen under contract after this year.
This season, Familia didn't necessarily have a set role for the first time in his career. The former closer, and 2016 MLB saves leader (51), was once a dominant late-inning bullpen arm. And although his devastating stuff is still there, the results haven't been since he signed his massive contract to return to Queens.
Now, he has been mostly used as a middle reliever in the twilight period of his career.
After a disappointing 2019 season, where he pitched at an overweight 270 pounds, Familia committed himself to physical fitness and wound up getting in the best shape of his life, dropping 30 pounds along the way, after working with fitness guru Dave Paladino at Impact Zone in New Jersey.
And while this progress initially didn't help Familia's performance on the mound all that much, the hard work began to pay off, as he posted a 3.62 ERA and 31 strikeouts across 27.2 innings prior to the All-Star break. He also allowed only two home runs during this span.
Unfortunately, he has come crashing back down to earth in the final two months of the season, posting a 5.12 ERA with six home runs surrendered in his last 21.1 innings.
This will likely hurt his value in free agency, which means the Mets could be able to retain him for a bargain, if they choose to do so.
But it all comes down to whether or not the new POBO will want him back. As of now, Familia is open to sticking around, and you shouldn't rule it out.
However, there are a significant amount of signs telling us that a breakup is coming this winter.