Phillies Bring Back Pat Neshek and Other Winter Meeting Rumblings
The big news in the baseball world over the past few days is the Phillies bringing back right handed reliever Pat Neshek on what is reportedly a 2 year $16M deal with a team option for a 3rd year. Neshek was the Phillies lone All-Star last year before being traded to Colorado for Jose Gomez, J.D. Hammer, and Alejandro Requena at the deadline. Between the two teams Neshek pitched 62.1 innings with a 1.59 ERA. This deal covers Neshek’s age 37 and 38 seasons, but he has also been very good into his 30s which alleviates some of the concerns. The Phillies won’t be counting on Neshek to repeat his 2017 season, nor are they getting him to be their closer, but the move helps stabilize a Phillies bullpen on the rise. Neshek will rejoin the bullpen core of Hector Neris and Edubray Ramos as well as 2017 breakouts Adam Morgan and Luis Garcia. As of right now it looks like Hoby Milner will join them with the last spot either being filled with another FA acquisition or an internal option like Victor Arano, Yacksel Rios, Ricardo Pinto, or any other starter moving to the bullpen. It isn’t an elite level bullpen, but if Garcia and Morgan can repeat their 2017 seasons, it has the upside to be very good. This might end up a bit of a monetary overpay, but Neshek was very good last year and liked his time with the Phillies, and even if it goes south the Phillies have solidified up the late innings.
The Phillies lost two players on waivers this week. Cam Perkins was claimed by the Seattle Mariners and Engelb Vielma was claimed by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Both players had little future in the Phillies organization and it immediately opens up two roster spots. For now those spots look to be going to Neshek and a Rule 5 draft pick.
Yesterday there was a report out of a Baltimore local site that the Phillies were interested in trading for Manny Machado with a window to convince him to sign him to an extension. There has been a strong counter to this from the Phillies and both national and local reporters that the Phillies are not looking to shake up their position player group and that they would rather wait for Machado to reach free agency and sign him than give up top prospects in a trade. Additionally, I personally cannot see Machado agreeing to a contract extension.
There was also a rumor that the Phillies are interested in Jake Arrieta. His agent is supposedly looking for $200M, which he won’t get, but there seems to be enough interest that Arrieta won’t be cheap. Arrieta received a qualifying offer so he will cost a pick and international signing bonus money, which makes him less attractive to the Phillies. Arrieta would fill a short term need, but he has been declining in recent years and is entering his age 32 season, meaning he likely won’t be a long term asset. If his price drops sharply the Phillies could jump in, but I find it unlikely.