Rumor updating on the reliever front this Friday evening, with further confirmation on the Cubs’ interest in Zach Britton and another reliever:
The cubs are thought to have Britton near the top of their wish list. But they, too, are considering Familia.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) July 21, 2018
We’ve seen lots of rumors already on Britton, so no huge surprise there. Many, many teams are interested in the former tip-top closer.
The Cubs being explicitly connected to Familia, however, is new. Rumors earlier today had a similarly large number of teams in on the Mets closer – also a free-agent-to-be – with names being exchanged between the Mets and suitors. Familia, 28, has been very solid this year, and has had some excellent seasons in the past (like Britton, with a super-elite groundball rate).
However, as I wrote earlier:
There are some rubs, though. For one thing, Familia really struggled in 2017, and before that, had only a two-year track record of high-end success. For another thing, Familia’s patented extreme groundball tendencies have eroded a bit this year (50.0% groundball rate after historically always being around 60%). And for still another thing, Familia was suspended for 15 games under MLB’s Domestic Violence Policy last year after a scary incident in late 2016.
With Familia, you probably have more certainty of relative effectiveness this year than with Britton, who is coming back from multiple injuries and hasn’t yet returned to form. I understand why all contenders – like the Cubs – would at least consider him.
The total honesty here is that I’d rather the Cubs did not acquire another player who has already been suspended under the league’s domestic violence policy. It creates deeply conflicting feelings that I’d just like to avoid. I’m not sure what that says about me as a fan, much less as a writer, but I’m just being honest.
If that’s a bridge we have to cross, we’ll cross it then. For now, I say: there are a lot of quality relievers on the rental market, and I do hope the Cubs get at least one.
UPDATE: Sounds like it’s going down for Familia, but not with the Cubs:
Mets are working to finish a trade of closer Jeurys Familia. Oakland among the team with interest; Cubs not involved.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 21, 2018