Astros trade Pat Neshek to Philadelphia
By Derek Howard
Astros ship RHP Neshek to Phillies for PTBNL or cash
A day after claiming Nori Aoki from the Mariners, Jeff Luhnow was at it again. The Astros sent RHP Pat Neshek to the Philadelphia Phillies Friday, according to Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle. The Astros in return will receive a player to be named later or cash.
The 36-year-old reliever appeared in 60 games for the Astros in 2016, posting a 3.06 ERA and 43 strikeouts in 47 innings. Neshek had fallen out of favor in the back-end of the Astros bullpen with the likes of Ken Giles, Luke Gregerson, and Will Harris, not to mention any pieces that could still be added this offseason.
In 2015, Neshek’s first year with Houston, he pitched his way into the primary setup role for the majority of the season but faltered in September and was out of the mix by the time the playoffs rolled around. He finished the season with an ERA of 3.62, his highest for a single season since posting a 4.01 in 2011 with the Padres.
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Who is left in the bullpen?
While Houston is likely to explore more bullpen options on the free agent market this winter, Michael Feliz and Tony Sipp figure to be locked into the 2017 bullpen.
If no other outside help is added, Chris Devenski appears to be in good shape after his breakout 2016 campaign. Devenski could potentially be a starting option down the road, but Houston manager A.J. Hinch seems to like the right-hander out of the bullpen as a long man or even a late-innings option.
Other candidates with experience include lefty Kevin Chapman and right-handers James Hoyt and Jandel Gustave.
As for Neshek, the Phillies will pick up Neshek’s $6.5 million option for 2017, and he is slated to become a free agent after the season. The money saved by Houston on moving Neshek should help cover the cost of Aoki’s impending arbitration.
Next: Not surprisingly, team picks up Evan Gattis’ 2017 option
Neshek brings experience to a young Phillies bullpen which was powered in 2016 by closer Jeanmar Gomez and Hector Neris. He should be able to find a spot in the mid to late innings for manager Pete Mackanin.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***