Oakland A’s Bolster Bullpen, Land Jeurys Familia

The Oakland A’s rode a 21-6 wave into the all-star break, putting them just 3 games back of the wild card game. Now considering themselves contenders, the A’s have traded for Mets closer Jeurys Familia.

After a shaky, injury plagued 2017, the 28 year old has seemingly returned to form this season, owning a 2.88 ERA and 2.54 FIP. Since 2014, Familia’s 122 saves are the 3rd most of any pitcher, with an ERA that ranks 4th among pitchers with as many innings as him.

While the righty has looked considerably better this season, it is important to note that Familia is giving up far more fly balls (32.4%) than he has before (less than 22% from 2015-2017), which is never a good sign for a pitcher. His xFIP (expected FIP) is 3.67, which tells that some of his numbers may be more luck driven rather than skill.

Either way, the A’s should feel satisfied in landing Familia. Oakland’s 3.50 bullpen ERA already ranked 8th best in baseball, while only atoning for 8 losses this season. Blake Treinen (0.94 ERA) and Lou Trivino (1.22 ERA) have been two of baseball’s best relievers, and along with lefty Ryan Butcher (1.83 ERA), this bullpen should shape up to be one of the 2nd half’s best.

Outside of Sean Manaea, Oakland starters are averaging just 5.22 innings per start. With the trade market for starters being near non existent this season, adding a strong bullpen arm makes a lot of sense. It’s a lot easier for Oakland to simply accept that their starters won’t be great and back them up with the best bullpen possible, than to make difficult trades for other mediocre pitchers.

The Mets are walking away with a deal that really doesn’t help their future much. Toffey has only played 2 years of minor league ball, and although has showed excellent on base abilities, fails to display much of any power generally seen from major league thirdbasemen.

Bobby Wahl has never been ranked in Oakland’s top 30 prospects, but has pitched very well in the minors and could shape up to be a solid bullpen arm. He’s still working off a thoracic outlet surgery from August of 2017, but has had a great 2018 in AAA. Overall, New York is losing a great bullpen arm, for someone who could be a good bullpen arm, likely nothing more.

Oakland has also agreed to pay off Familia’s remaining $3,000,000 for the season and give the Mets $1,000,000 in international pool money.

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