Julio Urías was poised to cash in this winter in free agency but instead torpedoed his market with a bad season both on and off the field.
Urías had the highest ERA (4.60) and xERA (4.79) of his career, save for a five-start 2017 campaign that was cut short by shoulder surgery. He was a far cry from the pitcher who received Cy Young Award votes in the previous two seasons, including a third-place finish in 2022, the pitcher who won 20 games one year and won an ERA title the next season.
But he lost his last three starts in April, allowing two home runs in each game, part of a theme that plagued Urías all season. The culmination came on May 18 in St. Louis, when he allowed four home runs in one inning in a loss to the Cardinals. Within a few days, Urías landed on the injured list with a hamstring strain that would sideline him for six weeks.
Through that start in St. Louis, Urías was tied for the major league lead with 14 home runs allowed. Amazingly, he wasn’t tied with future teammate Lance Lynn, who would later take that baton and run with it all the way into October.
Urías on the season allowed 24 home runs in his 21 starts, one more than his previous career high set in 2022 in 10 fewer starts. That contributed to several blow-up starts for the left-hander, who allowed five or more runs in a third of his starts, matching his total from the previous two years combined. The worst was getting tagged for a career-worst eight runs on July 19 in Baltimore.
Those blow-up starts and the hamstring injury prevented Urías from gaining any traction or having any sort of extended run of success like he had in each of the previous two seasons. He allowed six runs at Fenway Park on August 26 and five runs to the Braves at home six days later, giving up three home runs in each game. He didn’t have an opportunity for another patented Urías stretch-drive run because his season was over.
Urías was arrested on a felony domestic violence charge in Los Angeles over Labor Day weekend, and on September 6 was placed on administrative leave by Major League Baseball under the league’s joint domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse policy. Urías missed the final 25 games of the regular season and three postseason games while on administrative leave.
If he is suspended, Urías would be the first player suspended twice in the nine-year history of the league’s collectively-bargained domestic policy. He also served 20 games in 2019.
The league is still investigating Urías, putting his future very much in limbo.
Stats: 4.60 ERA, 4.18 xERA, 4.69 FIP, 11-8, 117⅓ IP, 117 K, 24 BB, 1.2 fWAR, 0.7 bWAR
Salary: $14.25 million
Game of the year
Urías struck out 10 in seven innings in a win over the Phillies on May 2. His only hit allowed was a solo home run by old friend Trea Turner.
Urías is a free agent, and still under investigation by MLB.