Should Phillies exercise any of their 2021 team options?
By Bryce Turner
Hector Neris — $7 million
Closer Hector Neris made his Major League debut with the Phillies in 2014, and, at times, has been criticized for being unreliable.
Neris looked good in 2019, posting a 3-6 record, 28 saves, 2.93 ERA, and 1.020 WHIP in 68 relief appearances. His outings have been infamous for making fans nervous, though, especially since he gave up at least a walk, hit, or run in 37 games that year alone. In eight games, he surrendered at least one of all three categories.
In 2020, Neris struggled early; in his first nine games, he had two saves, three blown saves, a 9.95 ERA, and a .364 batting average against spanning 6 1/3 innings. After being acquired form the Boston Red Sox, Brandon Workman became the primary closer.
Oddly enough, it was not long after when Neris earned back his closer role and turned things around. In his next 14 games, he had three saves, no blown saves, a 1.29 ERA, and .200 BA against him in 14 innings pitched. The right-handers’ last game was not as great, but the improved second half gives reason for optimism and perhaps warrants keeping him around in 2021.
Despite his poor start, his 4.57 ERA was the fifth-best among Phillies relievers with 10 or more innings pitched in 2020.
Although the bullpen needs an overhaul, the Phillies still need to keep someone. Neris is among the better pitchers that they have under contract, as Jose Alvarez and Tommy Hunter enter free agency. Given Neris’ 2021 team option is only $7 million, the often-criticized reliever may be worth keeping.