It is being reported by Jerry Crasnick that reliever Pat Neshek is expected to sign soon, and the Astros are one of three teams that are being considered.
The 34-year old is expected to sign somewhere in the 2 year/$10M range, which is right up the Astros’ alley. However, the two other teams that are in on Neshek are the Blue Jays, who have been very active this offseason, and the Pirates. Both landing spots would likely appeal to a free agent more than Houston, especially on a two-year deal, because they offer the chance to win immediately, whereas the Astros are likely at least a year away from serious contention.
In the last three seasons, Neshek has compiled ERAs of 1.37, 3.35 and 1.87. Last season was Neshek’s first as an All-Star, and also saw his walk rate diminish (career average 3.1 per 9, 1.2 per 9 in 2014), and his strikeout rate jump to 9.1 per nine.
Pat Neshek seems like the perfect candidate (from a Houston perspective) to join an Astros team on the rise. He isn’t a high-profile free agent, but could really help the Astros bullpen. In a perfect world, Jeff Luhnow would be able to lure him, and Luke Gregerson to Houston, having Neshek in the seventh and Gregerson in the eighth. Of course, that would leave Chad Qualls as the closer, but I cover that in an upcoming piece.
If the Astros strike out on Pat Neshek, they will likely redouble their efforts on both Gregerson and former closer Sergio Romo. They could also call the Nationals again and check in on Tyler Clippard, who Adam Kilgore reported was a target earlier.
Clippard was also and All-Star last season, and finished with a 2.18 ERA. A trade with the Nationals would likely take more than L.J. Hoes, who is being dangled for relief help (via Chris Cotillo), but with Clippard set to hit free agency after next season, the asking price should’t be astronomical, just more than a career .235 hitter.