Hector Neris is pretty hit or miss when it comes to the Phillies community. Some fans love him, some fans can’t stand him. Regardless of how you feel about the closer’s services, I think most people can agree that he isn’t a top closing pitcher in today’s MLB. With that, comes some inherent uncertainty regarding his future as a Philadelphia Phillie.
After an up and down 2019 season as the team’s primary closer, Neris and the Phils agreed upon a sum of $4.6 million to avoid arbitration. This agreement also included a team option of $7 million for the 2021 season. By including this option, the Phillies are sneaking in a pretty hefty “incentive” for Neris to perform in 2020. If Neris plays well, he’ll be rewarded with a very lucrative raise.
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However, if Neris struggles in 2020 (similar to how he did in 2018) the Phillies will surely decline said team option, plunging Neris back into a state of insecurity as he likely heads into arbitration. Not only would this mean they don’t value Neris enough to pay him, but it would cause some disgruntlement from Neris as he begins to eye a long term payday in 2022.
Neris has had a rollercoaster of a career thus far with the Phillies. Performing great one game and then struggling the next, he’s failed to really establish that rock solid consistency a team desires from their closer. Considering the Phillies handed out $23 million dollars to David Robertson just last year, it’s clear the front office is only so sold on Neris’ ability.
Similar to that of Velasquez, Philadelphia will have a choice to make on Neris very quickly. As they continue to build around Harper and his expensive salary, it’s unlikely they’ll want to hand out big money to Neris anytime soon. Trading him away while they can still get value seems to be the intelligent play in 2021.