The New York Mets will be without their All-Star closer for the first 15 games of the 2017 season.
On Wednesday, Jeurys Familia was suspended by Major League Baseball for violating the league’s domestic violence policy. On Oct. 31 of last year, Familia was arrested in Fort Lee, New Jersey on a domestic violence charge. A few weeks after the incident, his wife asked for the charge to be dropped. Back in December, a judge in New Jersey dismissed the domestic violence case against Familia. MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred decided to suspend him after the league reviewed all of the evidence. He will begin serving the suspension next Monday when the Mets take on the Atlanta Braves in their first game of the season.
Familia’s suspension is not as long as the one Aroldis Chapman served last season. Chapman was banned for the first 30 games of the 2016 season after he was accused of choking his girlfriend and firing a gun at her in October of 2015. Although no charges ended up being filed by the police because there was no physical evidence, the MLB still decided to suspend Chapman under its new domestic violence policy that was enacted in August of 2015. The new rules allow the league to suspend players for violating personal conduct policy, even if they were not convicted in court. This is essentially why Familia received a suspension even though his case was dismissed.
Last season, Familia was the MLB saves leader. In 78 games, he went 3-4 with a 2.55 ERA and recorded 51 saves. He was named to the National League All-Star team for the first time in his career. In 2015, Familia saved 43 games and had an ERA of 1.85. He has only been the Mets closer for two years, but has already had a huge impact on the team.
Fortunately for the Mets, they have someone in the bullpen ready to step in for Familia. Setup man Addison Reed will most likely be the team’s closer for the first few weeks of the season. Reed had a very good 2016 season, going 4-2 with a 1.97 ERA in 80 games. A former closer with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Chicago White Sox, he has experience in this kind of role. He should be able to get the job done for the Mets until Familia is reinstated.
The Mets had been waiting a long time for the MLB to finally make a decision on what Familia’s punishment would be. Now that the league has suspended him for 15 games and he has accepted the punishment, they can plan to begin the 2017 season without him.