Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports that the Mets have avoided arbitration with closer Jeurys Familia by agreeing to a one-year, $4.1 million contract for the 2016 season.
This was Familia’s first year of arbitration eligibility, and there will be two more to follow. He requested $4.8 million and was offered $3.3 million from the Mets when figures were exchanged on January 15. It took about three weeks for the two sides to find a compromise.
Familia emerged as one of the best closers in baseball last year, posting a 1.85 ERA and 86/19 K/BB ratio in 78 regular-season innings for the eventual National League champions. He also tallied 43 regular-season saves.
FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal notes that the 26-year-old right-hander is now the highest-paid reliever in history with only one full season at closer under his belt. The previous king under those parameters was Orioles closer Zach Britton, who pulled in a $3.2 million salary in 2015. It’s a record that will likely keep breaking as baseball’s basic economics explode upward and young fireballers continue to dominate the ninth-inning game.
The Twins have reportedly signed free agent shortstop Erick Aybar to a minor-league deal, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reported Friday. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman adds that the deal comes with a potential $1.25 million if Aybar reaches the majors, with additional incentives based on plate appearances. He’ll be able to opt out on March 27. The team has yet to confirm the signing.
Aybar, 34, is now four years removed from his career year in 2014. He’s been in a state of steady decline since then, slashing just .234/.300/.348 with seven home runs and 11 stolen bases over 370 plate appearances for the Padres in 2017. His poor performance wasn’t helped by a fractured left foot, either, which cost him almost six weeks on the disabled list.
Still, the Twins see something promising in the veteran infielder, and reportedly intend to use him as another utility option this spring. Per Neal, Aybar will join fellow backup infielders Eduardo Escobar and Ehire Adrianza and may even (temporarily) take over for Miguel Sano at third base if Sano isn’t able to shape up for the role by Opening Day.