Mets 'shocked' by Familia arrest as team prepares for ban

The news spread quickly via text message: Mets players and personnel have dispersed across the country to their offseason homes and their winter plans, but word of Jeurys Familia being arrested and charged in a domestic violence incident involving his wife — according to an industry source — circulated from player to player.

“I am shocked and sad,” said one player, who asked to remain anonymous. “I want to talk to him or hear his side of the story before I rush to any judgment. He’s the last guy you would think would get in any trouble like this. It really is just shocking to hear.”

Shock and confusion were the overwhelming reactions from the top on down. Two Mets sources confirmed that the team was blindsided by the news. Most of Familia’s teammates thought he was home in his native Dominican Republic already.

But now, like Familia’s teammates, Met higher-ups have to wait and see what happens with the case. Familia was arrested and charged after officers responded to a dispute at the Fort Lee, N.J., apartment he lives in with his wife and 1-year-old son. The officers found his wife with a bruise on her cheek and scratches on her chest.

Mets can make example out of Jeurys Familia, but don’t expect it

Familia, who was released on $1,500 bail, had his first court appearance postponed Wednesday afternoon. He will make his first appearance Nov. 10 at 10 a.m. at the Fort Lee Municipal Court. Familia’s attorney, Paul Brickfield, did not return messages seeking comment.

The Mets will not only have to see what happens to Familia in the legal process, but also in the investigation launched Tuesday by MLB.

Jeurys Familia is arrested this week on a domestic violence charge.

Jeurys Familia is arrested this week on a domestic violence charge.

(Kathy Willens/AP)

Under the domestic violence policy implemented by MLB and the players’ union, commissioner Rob Manfred does not have to rely solely on the outcome of the legal process. For instance, he issued a 30-game suspension in the case of Aroldis Chapman even though the now-Cubs closer was not charged for the offseason incident involving his girlfriend in Miami. Manfred also suspended Jose Reyes 52 games after the charges that he had struck his wife Oct. 31, 2015 were dismissed without prejudice by Hawaiian prosecutors.

With that in mind, the Mets know they have to make contingency plans for 2017.

Possible free agent relievers Mets can target

Based on Manfred’s past action, it is likely Familia will face suspension of at least 52 games if MLB finds any credence to the allegations.

So, the Mets need to find an arm for the back end of their bullpen to cover themselves in the very likely case Familia faces a suspension.

“At this point, we have to look at all the options we can,” one Mets source said. “We don’t know what could happen, so we have to at least look.”

That could make for a costly offseason for the Mets.

MLB’s domestic violence suspensions and what may come for Familia

Still open to re-signing Yoenis Cespedes, who can opt out of his three-year deal in five days, and having to fill a hole at second base, the Mets could be financially limited in signing a free-agent closer.

There are some attractive names out there for teams willing to spend money, including Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen, Nationals closer Mark Melancon and Chapman. With Chapman having already been suspended because of a domestic violence incident, the Mets would likely face some serious public relations backlash if they signed him.

Internally, their options are limited.

Addison Reed was 4-2 with a 1.97 ERA in 80 appearances for the Mets last season and has closing experience. The Mets, however, were already concerned about his workload in 2016 and were hoping to find a veteran arm this winter that would take some of the heavy lifting off his and Familia’s shoulders.

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Jeurys Familia with catcher Travis d'Arnaud

Jeurys Familia with catcher Travis d’Arnaud

(John Minchillo/AP)

Familia had been a godsend for the Mets in 2015, stepping into the closer’s role after Jenrry Mejia took his first of three suspensions for testing positive for PEDs. Over the past two seasons, Familia has 94 saves, including a franchise record 51 in 2016.

“It’s unbelievable,” one rival scout said. “I mean the Mets lose one good closer to PEDs and have an even better one step into that role. Familia was great, except for a game in the World Series. And now they could lose him over something like this. It would be a big blow to that team.”

The Mets and several of Familia’s teammates were still in shock Wednesday morning at the news of Familia’s arrest and the impact it could have on the team hasn’t yet sunk in.

“Honestly, I haven’t even thought about next season,” another player said. “I just hope he and his family are OK. Baseball and the bullpen, that will all sort itself out. I’m worried about him and his family.” 

Tags:
mlb
new york mets
jeurys familia
domestic violence
rob manfred
aroldis chapman
jose reyes
yoenis cespedes
kenley jansen
mark melancon
addison reed

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