Between the 2015 and 2016 seasons, Jeurys Familia had 94 saves combined. 2016 was his best season to date, with 51 saves and an All-Star appearance. Going into the 2017 season, the Mets expected him to be the anchor that held together the back end of the Mets bullpen. He missed the first 15 games of the season due to a domestic violence suspension, and then was diagnosed with a blood clot on May 11th. This clot kept him out of the lineup until August 25th. During the time he was out, the Mets made an interesting addition to their roster via trade. This trade could have a significant effect on Familia’s role in the 2018 season.
On July 28th, the Mets acquired Marlins closer AJ Ramos for two minor leaguers. Ramos stole the closer role from Steve Cishek, and never gave it back. Like Familia, he was selected to the 2016 All-Star game. That season, he finished with 40 saves. Why would the Mets, in the midst of a losing season, want to acquire a closer of Ramos’s status? Yes, he has filled the void of closer since Addison Reed has departed, and is so far a perfect six for six. Now that Familia is back though, the Mets have two players for one role, especially because Ramos is contract controlled for another season.
Who will close games for the Mets next season? I think that will all depend on the manager next season. If somehow Terry Collins makes his return in a Mets uniform next season, it will most likely be Familia who Collins calls upon in the ninth. After all, Familia has been the closer ever since Jenrry Mejia botched the job due to his PED abuse. For the most part, he has been successful. If there were a bone to pick about his game though, it would be his big moment miscues. In the 2015 World Series, Familia was 0-3 on save attempts. In the 2016 Wild Card Game, Familia gave up a three run home run to Conor Gillaspie in the top of the ninth that led to the eventual loss in that game.
This season, Ramos has been effective from the closer position. The only problem Ramos has faced this season, has been ERA. This season, Ramos has had a higher ERA than in past seasons. For only the third time in his career, his ERA is over three. While this may show regression, his other statistics have looked sharp. These numbers will make a manager interested in having Ramos as their closer. The only opposition to Ramos being the closer would be his velocity. Although it has not affected Ramos thus far, all his pitches typically register slower than Familia’s. The biggest difference is Familia’s sinker, which registers about five miles per hour faster than Ramos’s.
With two proven closers, the Mets will enter the 2018 season in an interesting position. They will have to decide who to run out there in the ninth inning, or which closer would bring the most success to the team. Either way, the Mets will have the option of trading one of the closers next season to acquire offense or whatever else could be needed to make a run at the postseason in 2018. The trade to acquire Ramos may turn out to be one of the best Sandy Alderson trades for the organization.