Long-time Phillies reliever not coming back to Philly, signs with the Cubs

Phillies miss out on upgrading their bullpen with Héctor Neris for the 2024 season.
Former Philadelphia Phillies reliever Héctor Neris recently signed with the Chicago Cubs
Former Philadelphia Phillies reliever Héctor Neris recently signed with the Chicago Cubs / Rich Schultz/GettyImages

In terms of recruiting a high-end arm to bolster their bullpen for the 2024 season, the Philadelphia Phillies had a former player that they could have pursued who could have fit the bill. However, that option is no longer available as Héctor Neris won’t be coming back to town after he officially agreed to a one-year deal with the Chicago Cubs worth $9 million this past Thursday.

Neris began his MLB career with the Phillies back in 2014 but didn’t become a full-time player with the ballclub until the 2016 season. In his eight years with the team, he compiled a solid 3.42 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP, with 520 strikeouts in 407 2/3 innings. Neris performed effectively for the ballclub as a middle to late-inning relief pitcher, along with successful stints as the closer, racking up 84 total saves.

However, Neris left the Phillies following the 2021 season to pursue a chance at a World Series championship by signing a two-year deal with options with the Houston Astros. He certainly got his wish and helped lead the Astros to their second-ever World Series title. In 2023, Neris put together the best season of his career by posting a stellar 6-3 record with 31 holds, a 1.71 ERA, 246 ERA+, 1.05 WHIP, along with 77 strikeouts in 68 1/3 innings of work in 71 appearances.

After the standout season, Neris declined his $8.5 million player option with the Astros to become a free agent this offseason. With Neris signing on with the Cubs for just $500,000 more, the Phillies sorely missed out on a sure-fire back end of the bullpen stud.

Not only would he have fit in nicely as the ballclub’s setup man or even closer role, but he would also bring postseason-winning experience to help the Phillies in their own run at the title. After all, he knows what it takes to get the job done.

The Phillies will need to resort now to other secondary or even tertiary options for their bullpen upgrade, as many higher-end options, including Neris, have been coming off the board rapidly in recent weeks. Unless the team is totally satisfied with what they have now, they better act fast before it’s too late.