Before the Houston Astros signed Josh Hader, their bullpen situation was looking pretty dire. A big reason for that was because of the free agent departures of Hector Neris, Phil Maton and Ryne Stanek. The back end of the bullpen was still anchored by Ryan Pressly and Bryan Abreu, but losing that many guys who provided a lot of big innings for Houston in 2023 was a massive blow.
Most of those worries have been quelled now that the Astros have arguably the best late-inning package of relievers in baseball with Hader in the fold. The bigger question now is where those three aforementioned names are going to end up since a reunion doesn't seem all that likely at the moment.
Well, the relief market appears set to come into focus with just a few weeks left before the beginning of spring training. Recently, it was reported the Mets seem to be targeting both Neris and Stanek to help fill out their bullpen, with other teams in the mix.
Mets could swoop in and sign one or both of Hector Neris and Ryne Stanek
The fit with the Mets, especially for Neris, is a bit of a weird one. On the one hand, Steve Cohen loves to throw his money around and the Mets bullpen could use some reinforcements with the loss of Adam Ottavino to free agency and Edwin Diaz still recovering from surgery. However, this same rumor update also highlights that the Mets don't plan on spending more than $10 million the rest of the offseason. That could theoretically land Stanek, but Neris clearly wants a much bigger payday than that.
That said, it's clear that all three of these guys (including Maton) should have new teams soon. The Cardinals (as well as the Mets) have looked at Maton as an option, and Neris has been connected to several potential teams including the Yankees, Rangers and Cards. Given the number of teams involved and how much these players could end up getting paid, the Astros have to feel pretty good about locking up Hader and avoiding potentially overpaying for others with more limited upside, even if they are known quantities.
In any event, time is running out on the offseason with spring training right around the corner. We will know soon enough as to where all of these guys end up even, though it will almost assuredly not be with the Astros.