Klentak brings in reliever Neshek
One of Phillies general manager Matt Klentak’s stated offseason goals was upgrading his bullpen, a mission he began in earnest Friday by acquiring veteran right-handed reliever Pat Neshek from the Houston Astros.
Neshek, 36. who comes over for “a player to be named later or cash considerations,” went 2-2 with a 3.06 ERA, 0.94 WHIP and 43 strikeouts in 60 appearances (47 innings pitched) with the Astros last season.
The Phillies exercised Neshek’s $6.5 million club option for the 2017 season.
“I think last year we saw for much of the season we were really competitive in save situations in the seventh, eighth and ninth (innings) with (Edubray) Ramos, (Hector) Neris and (Jeanmar) Gomez,” Klentak said. “It’s a goal of ours this year to really try to be competitive with the entire bullpen. We really think Pat Neshek will help us in those efforts.”
Likening the move to the acquisition of Jeremy Hellickson last year as a short-term option with longer-term possibilities, Klentak added, “Pat has had a really strong three-year run. He’s controls the strike zone on the mound, which is something we talk about a lot. He is outstanding against right-handed hitters. We think he’ll be a good fit.”
In a phone interview Friday with the Houston Chronicle, Neshek said he was looking forward to “a lot better opportunities to pitch bigger innings” with the Phillies. He had fallen into a middle relief role last season, partially due to Houston’s acquisition of former Phillie shut-down reliever Ken Giles.
“It will be nice to pitch big innings, pitch more innings,” Neshek added. “Hopefully I can run with that and do well.”
A 10-year veteran, Neshek has a 2819 career mark with seven saves and a 2.93 ERA in 423 games in stints with the Twins, Padres, A’s, Cardinals and the Astros (2014-15).
As far as the Phillies’ payback to the Astros, Klentak said, “At this point, this acquisition by itself won’t affect any of the other players in our bullpen or on our 40-man.”