Quality bullpen arms are tough to come by especially with all of the competition for their services which makes Hector Neris hitting the free agent market particularly tough. During the course of his time with Houston, Neris morphed from a decent seventh inning type of guy to start with into one of the Astros' best relievers in 2023 where he posted a 1.71 ERA in 71 appearances.
Neris signed a two year deal with the Astros that did include a perfectly reasonable $8.5 million team contract option for 2024. However, his contract included a clause that allowed that option to be changed into a player option if Neris reached 110 appearances across 2022 and 2023. Unfortunately for the Astros, Neris did reach that appearance threshold and now it is up to him as to whether or not he will come back next season.
Despite Hector having a challenging postseason performance this year, Houston would love to have Neris back especially if they could have kept him for the bargain rate in his original contract. The problem is that Neris would be silly to exercise that player option at this point. He is coming off a career season and as soon as he hits the free agent market, he will be one of the better relievers available and likely will be in line for a very significant raise on a multi-year deal over what he would make on his current deal.
The Astros certainly will try to convince Neris to stay and are probably willing to pony up a little bit in an offer to him, but with a significant chunk of their payroll tied up in their bullpen in Ryan Pressley, Rafael Montero, and Kendall Graveman already, it sure seems like Neris has priced himself out of Houston.