Should the Phillies exercise Pat Neshek’s club option?
The Phillies have an expensive option for a veteran reliever hanging in the balance.
Quietly one of the best relievers in baseball since 2012, Phillies setup man Pat Neshek has a large club option hanging in the balance of the offseason. After turning 39 and missing most of the year due to injuries, Neshek’s time with the Phillies could be coming to a close.
Philadelphia first acquired Neshek in November 2016 from the Houston Astros for a player to be named later or cash. Neshek’s performance over his first 43 appearances that season was so good (featuring a 1.12 ERA) the Phillies netted three prospects, including J.D. Hammer, from the Colorado Rockies at the trade deadline.
General manager Matt Klentak brought Neshek back after the 2017 season on a two-year $16.25 million deal with a club option worth $7 million for 2020, which includes a $750,000 buyout.
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Unfortunately, Neshek’s health hasn’t held up over the two year deal, limiting him to just 50 games with a 3.61 ERA. He allowed five home runs in just 18 innings this year, as many as he did the last two years combined.
Neshek, who turned 39 this month, underwent surgery on Sept. 10 for a torn hamstring he suffered in early June. That injury came after he missed three weeks with inflammation in his right rotator cuff.
Last season Neshek missed time with shoulder and forearm injuries, limiting him to just over 24 innings. He’s one of several of the Phils relievers who suffered from the injury bug this year, and unfortunately, it’ll likely cost him $6.25 million.
There’s little reason for the Phillies to pick up a $7 million option on a 39-year-old reliever coming off hamstring surgery when they can buy him out for a fraction of the cost. That doesn’t mean they aren’t open to bringing Neshek back, if he wants to pitch again, but not for $7 million.
It wouldn’t hurt to offer Neshek what could likely be the last contract of his career, possibly something in the $2 million range. That’s what a lot of the veteran relievers got on one year deals last year.
If Neshek comes back healthy he’s a valuable asset and a mentor in a young bullpen. If he moves on, Klentak will sleep well by not signing a 39-year-old reliever with a myriad of injuries.