When the skirmish between the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners went down, it was in the heat of the moment during a very tense playoff chase. Astros reliever Hector Neris was amped up after striking out Julio Rodriguez and decided to send some choice words Rodriguez's way which resulted in benches clearing. Many thought that was going to be the end of it despite the fact that Julio has seemingly had little interest in repairing the relationship between the two players.
However, one thing that was seemingly lost in everything that happened at the end of the 2023 season is that any confrontation in a game carries the risk that players could be suspended, especially those that instigate things and Neris definitely played a part in what happened. Fortunately, the Astros lucked out when it was announced that Neris would only be fined and not suspended by MLB after they investigated the incident.
Hector Neris will thankfully be available to the Astros for the playoffs
In the postseason, the quality and depth of teams' bullpens becomes extremely important as starter are on a short leash most of the time given the importance of each game. After posting a 1.71 ERA and 2.5 rWAR in 71 appearances with the Astros this season, Neris is clearly one of Houston's best relief options and losing him for any number of games in the playoffs could have been devastating.
Fortunately, MLB decided that hitting Neris in his wallet is enough of a punishment for what happened and Neris should be ready to roll when the ALDS gets started on Saturday. Hopefully this is a cautionary tale and a lesson that just because tensions are high and the regular season is winding down, that doesn't mean that guys can act a fool without consequences. The Astros really dodged a bullet here and things could have gone much worse heading into their postseason run.