After a stellar 2018 season, the Mets were excited to bring Jeurys Familia back to their bullpen. Along with the trade for Edwin Diaz, the Mets were primed to have one of the best back-end reliever tandems in the league.
But, of course, it didn't play out that way. Diaz was the exact opposite of his dominant 2018 self, and Familia saw his ERA jump from 3.13 to 5.70.
It was uncharacteristic for both pitchers, but Familia has figured out at least one major reason why he saw those results. He gained weight.
"It was a tough season for me," Familia said, according to Mike Puma and Pat Ragazzo of the New York Post. "I've never had a year like that. Gaining weight affected my delivery to the plate and messed up my rhythm, which is why I started...training to take the weight off this offseason."
Familia says he's down 30 pounds, from 270 to 240 since he began working out with personal trainer Dave Paladino at Impact Zone in New Jersey.
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"Jeurys has been a man on a mission this offseason," GM Brodie Van Wagenen said. "He has worked with our health and performance department to improve in every aspect of his preparation. In addition to losing weight, he has spent time with [pitching coach] Jeremy Hefner to better understand his mechanics and his approach. He has been throwing off the mound at Citi Field since before the holidays."
Mets fans definitely like to hear that, and as you can see from the video, Familia is noticeably thinner and looks to be in really good shape with pitchers and catchers set to report to Spring Training on Feb. 10.
But Familia didn't just talk about himself. Diaz was also part of the conversation, specifically the notion that the New York City lights were too bright for him.
"I know Edwin and he did not struggle with the pressure of playing in New York as everyone believes," Familia said. "I think he just had one of those years, but that's how baseball works. I see the kind of work he puts in. He's young and he has the best stuff of any reliever in baseball in my opinion."
The Mets would love for Familia and Diaz to bounce back at the same time. And they have another dominant reliever looking to do the exact same, too, in Dellin Betances. The former Yankee signed a one-year deal worth $10.6 million following a 2019 season that saw him battle back from injury, pitch to only two batters, and suffer a torn Achilles that shut him down again.
This back end was one of the best in baseball -- on paper -- heading into Spring Training, and it looks even better now with Betances' addition. Familia knows exactly what they can become if they return to their old selves.
"I think we are going to be a three-headed monster," he said.