This is where things get tougher because the amount of money in play for Hector Neris is fairly substantial. Neris was a revelation for the Astros in 2023 as he posted a 1.71 ERA while missing bats at a high clip. His 3.83 FIP does seem to indicate a certain amount of good fortune when it comes to balls in play, but his track record is still one of a very productive reliever.
Unfortunately, all of those appearances this past season resulted in Neris' contract option for 2024 being converted into a player option. Once the season ended, Neris decided to leave $8.5 million next season on the table and declined that option in search of a bigger payday which he absolutely deserves. The good news is that Dana Brown has already said he has reached out to Neris' camp and bringing him back is on the table. However, Houston is going to have to show some more willingness to spend this offseason or the Astros need to shed some payroll before such a reunion is even a possibility.
Josh Hader is famously a part of one of the worst trades in Astros history when they sent Hader to the Brewers back in 2015. Hader would go on to become one of the best relievers in the game while the Astros got to wonder what might have been. While Hader's 2022 season was a bit of a disaster, his other six seasons have been tremendous including 2023 where he put up a 1.28 ERA with 85 strikeouts in 56.1 innings of work while making his fifth All-Star team.
Hader is going to be incredibly expensive to sign, especially for a reliever, and again, the Astros have made it well-known that they seem to be operating under some payroll constraints. However, there has been enough smoke out there that those limitations aren't set in stone and what better way to address their need for a strong lefty reliever than by bringing Hader back to Houston? Hader would instantly make the bullpen a strength of the Astros' roster which would lessen the need to find a starting pitcher that can eat a ton of innings.