It has been an up-and-down season for Jeurys Familia, who has spent a majority of his 10-year career with the Mets.
And with 10 games left to go this season and Familia set to hit the free agent market for the second time as a big-leaguer, the relief pitcher isn't ready to say goodbye.
“I like it here — I love it here,” Familia told Mike Puma of The New York Post during the week. “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.”
When you think of Familia's time with the Mets, you might look back to when he was an elite closer during back-to-back playoff seasons from 2015-16.
Familia was a star closer on a 2015 Mets team that won the National League Pennant, as he recorded the final out in the NLCS against the Cubs. But the right-hander is also remembered for blowing a crucial one-run save against the Royals in Game 1 of the World Series, when he tried to quick pitch Alex Gordon who instead took him deep to tie things up.
In 2016, Familia led the league and set a Mets' franchise record with 51 saves in a season. However, his dominant campaign ended in turmoil as he gave up a game-winning three-run home run to Connor Gillaspie in the ninth inning of the Wild Card game, which ultimately ended the the Mets' season.
Familia endured an injury riddled 2017 season, before getting dealt to the Oakland Athletics at the 2018 trade deadline, which he believed to be the end of his Mets career.
Alas, Brodie Van Wagenen was hired to be the Mets' general manager in the 2019 offseason, and he brought Familia back to be a setup man to Edwin Diaz, via a walloping deal for a reliever: three-years, $30 million.
But this proved to be a disaster, as Familia came in overweight, pitching at 270 pounds, which affected his delivery and performance.
After going hard in the following offseason to shed the weight with fitness guru Dave Paladino at Impact Zone in New Jersey, Familia lost 30 pounds and came into a shortened 2020 season much trimmer and in the best shape of his life.
While this slightly improved his performance on the mound, the results finally began to show in 2021. Familia is 9-4 with a 3.79 ERA and 1.40 WHIP in 62 appearances this season.
And while these numbers aren't necessarily ideal, per say, the soon-to-be 32-year-old has looked like the Familia of old at times, and still has brilliant stuff.
“My season, honestly for me, I think I’ve had some ups and downs,” Familia said. “But I have been working hard, every time I get an opportunity to do my job, but other than that I feel good.”
Familia pitched to a 3.62 ERA in the first-half of the season, allowing just two homers in 27.1 innings. However, he has posted a 3.94 ERA while surrendering eight long balls since the All-Star break.
So, with Diaz, Trevor May and Seth Lugo currently the only Mets' relievers under contract past this season, and Aaron Loup likely to be retained, Familia's future status with the team is still up in the air.
Especially with a new President of Baseball Operations destined to be hired by the Mets. And no matter who this candidate is, it spells one thing: Changes are on the horizon.
Regardless, Familia doesn't want this to be the end of his Mets tenure. Other than in the second half of 2018, he has only been with the Mets since making his big-league debut in 2012. His family is settled in North Jersey, and so is he.
But he understands it is a business, so he is ready for anything that comes his way this winter, even if it means potentially leaving the team and place he calls home, if he has to.
“From the team, everybody knows how hard I work and I am not going to say how they are going to remember me, because I know how hard I work and how serious I take my job and I think my name is going to be remembered for some guys here,” Familia said.
“Anywhere I go, I will be OK. I want to be here, but this is part of the game, you know?”