The Philadelphia Phillies have a number of trade chips that could help contending teams, and their setup man could be one of the most sought-after.
The Major League Baseball non-waiver trade deadline is less than two weeks away now, coming on Monday, August 1st, 2016.
Before that time, it should surprise no one if the Philadelphia Phillies swing a handful of deals. In some of those, the mission may be to simply move longtime favorites Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz to a contender for one more shot at a ring.
In those deals, fans should not expect much in return. They will, in some ways, simply be courtesy trades to the players for over a decade of service, most of which was spent as a contender and eventual World Series winner in front of packed houses at Citizens Bank Park.
However, a few other players might bring back something of a bit more value. Certainly not a premium prospect, but possibly someone who could develop into a piece that could eventually help the team as its rebuilding program (when ‘Piece’ and ‘Chooch’ are dealt, we can officially stop calling it a “rebuild” and move to the term “building”) advances over the next couple of seasons.
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One of those players is setup man Hector Neris. The right-hander turned 27 years of age just last month, so he is just entering the prime years of his career.
Neris is not only at a great age, but an acquiring team would get him in a strong contract situation. Neris does not become arbitration eligible until after the 2018 season, and cannot become a free agent for another five years.
In other words, an acquiring team does not have to worry about Neris becoming a free agent through the duration of his prime years as a ballplayer.
Now, all of that also makes it attractive for the Phillies to keep him themselves. There is a very real chance that Neris could eventually become the closer here in Philadelphia.
However, should some team decide that they like Neris enough to pay a price that the Phillies like, then GM Matt Klentak will certainly listen and negotiate.
Neris has allowed just 38 hits over 50 innings this season, with a 61/17 K:BB ratio. He has proven versatile to this point as well, pitching in 49 games, the most of any MLB pitcher this season.
He is also pitching exceptionally well over the past month. Since June 17th, Neris has registered a 1.72 ERA and .237 BAA over 15 games. He has allowed 14 hits in 15.2 innings over the span with a fabulous 19/2 K:BB ratio.
Every contending team is looking for reliable bullpen arms this time of year. A pitcher such as Neris, capable of dominance, doesn’t beat himself, entering his prime, great team contract position. That is a very valuable commodity.
So, where might Neris go, if he goes at all, and what might the Phillies be able to bring back in return? Let’s take a look at a few of the most interesting possibilities.
Next: NERIS TO THE CITY BY THE BAY