In an ideal world, Neris would have exercised his $8.5 million player option and the Astros could have reveled in getting him at that price. However, after putting up 2.5 rWAR and a 1.71 ERA and despite the hiccups he encountered in the postseason this year, him doing so is incredibly unlikely unless the fallout from his altercation with Julio Rodriguez tarnished his reputation league-wide more than we think.
Houston would love to have Neris back to help anchor their bullpen, but he may have priced himself out of town with his performance this year. The Rangers are a real threat to sign Neris as they are coming off a World Series win and clearly aren't afraid to spend, but we are going to guess that the Cubs end up snatching him up as they look to get over the hump in a very winnable NL Central.
Prediction: Cubs - Three years, $39 million
One of the unsung heroes for the Astros in 2023 was Phil Maton. While guys like Neris, Ryan Pressley, and Bryan Abreu got more attention, Maton was Mr. Steady with a 3.00 ERA in 68 appearances with Houston this past season. He strikes out better than a batter an inning and gets a lot of soft contact despite the fact that he throws his fastball consistently in the high 80's.
It wouldn't be crazy for Maton to return to the Astros next season as he wouldn't be very expensive and they are familiar with what he has to offer. However, his stuff isn't exactly analytics-friendly and other teams could offer him more. The Diamondbacks come to mind as a team that could use a guy in their bullpen that is tough to square up coming off their surprising run to the World Series this year
Prediction: Diamondbacks - Two years, $7 million