Tag Archives: Pat Neshek

It’s a great time to be Pat Neshek

On November 4, 2016 the Houston Astros shipped veteran relief pitcher Pat Neshek to the Philadelphia Phillies.
The trade was a simple salary dump for Houston. Neshek had a $6.55 million option due on his contract for the 2017 season. The Astros didn’t want to pay that kind of money for a middle reliever. 
They found a willing trade partner in the Phillies, who were desperately searching for short-term bullpen help, and who had plenty of money available to spend.
On the surface, it appeared a step back competitively for Neshek. The Astros were an up-and-coming contender in the American League. The Phillies were a rebuilding doormat in the National League. It looked as if it could be a long summer for the 36-year old veteran.
But you never know what the future will hold. The year 2017 has turned out to be one of the best of Neshek’s baseball life. And here in the month of July, it may only be getting better.
The great year began all the way back in March. While his new Phillies teammates were preparing for the season ahead at spring training in Clearwater, Neshek was representing the USA in the World Baseball Classic.
He would be a key shutdown reliever, a key to the Americans finally capturing the WBC championship. Neshek allowed no runs and four hits, striking out four and allowing just a single walk in five innings over five games.

When the WBC ended, Neshek joined those new Phillies teammates. The reality of his current Major League Baseball situation would quickly reveal itself.


The Phils would prove even worse than most predicted. Headed into Sunday’s final game before the MLB All-Star break, the Phillies are the worst team in baseball. The team has dropped five straight games, and they are 17-49 since April 27.
The bullpen has been generally awful during this campaign. The Phillies are 11-23 in one-run games, and most of those were blown late by the relief corps.
But Neshek has been the one member of that bullpen to consistently do his job. He has been so good, in fact, that last week he was selected as the lone Phillies all-star representative.
Entering Sunday, Neshek is 2-2 with one Save. He has allowed just 26 hits over 34.1 innings with a 34/5 K:BB ratio. He has outstanding 1.31 ERA and 0.903 WHIP marks as well.
It will be the second All-Star Game appearance for Neshek. He was also selected to the 2014 NL squad while with the Saint Louis Cardinals.
“You don’t think of yourself as one of the best players, or at least I don’t look at myself that way,” said Neshek per Philly.com’s Matt Breen. “But if you get the opportunity, you never know if you’re on that stage. So I took that into the season. I said, ‘Hey, I got some big guys out in the World Baseball Classic. I’ve done it before. I’m going to go at this hard again.’ You never know what’s going to happen.”
Neshek and his family will make their way to Miami for the All-Star Game festivities following Sunday afternoon’s game. They will enjoy a wonderful three-day experience in south Florida before returning to the reality of the Phillies lost season at the end of the week.


Even then, Neshek could be getting ready to see his outstanding personal 2017 season continue. He is one of the Phillies prime pieces of trade bait as the MLB trade deadline approaches at the end of July.
As we get deeper and deeper into the month of July, especially should he continue to stay healthy and perform at a high level, Neshek’s name will be involved in constant trade rumors.
It will be a mild upset if Neshek is still with the Phillies come August. The more likely scenario is that he will have been traded away to some contending team. Maybe back to Houston, or off to Boston or Texas in the American League. Maybe to Washington in the NL, where the Nationals bullpen has been a constant source of frustration to a genuine World Series contender.
It’s a great time to be Pat Neshek. He is on quite a roll here in 2017 thus far. If his luck continues, he should find himself pitching with a contender before it’s all over. Hopefully for the Phillies, he can return a bit of longer term value as well.

Phillies need to be bold at the trade deadline

NL All-Star reliever Neshek will be dealt by end of July
The Philadelphia Phillies are barreling down streak towards the July 31 MLB trade deadline with numerous rumors beginning to swirl around the team.
Most of the speculation revolves around the obvious players. Anyone 30+ years of age who is a pending free agent is likely to move.
The list includes starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson, relievers Pat Neshek and Joaquin Benoit, and outfielders Howie Kendrick and Daniel Nava.
Another possibility to move is catcher Cameron Rupp,  already losing playing time to Andrew Knapp behind the dish. If Rupp is dealt, the Phils could call up Logan Moorefrom AAA Lehigh Valley to serve as the backup while Jorge Alfaro continues to start with the IronPigs.
Can Phillies fans expect their team to receive anything of any substance in exchange for any of these players in any trade? The answer, unfortunately, is a resounding “no” to that question.


It was pointed out to me today that in August of 2014 the Phillies were able to unload then 33-year old reliever Roberto Hernandez on the Los Angeles Dodgers. In that deal, the club received the old “players to be named later” as a return.
When those PTBNL were actually named, they turned out to be infielder Jesmuel Valentin and pitcher Victor Arano. Nearly three years later, neither player has appeared in the big leagues. And neither looks as if they will any time soon, if ever.
Valentin is currently on the DL at AAA Lehigh Valley following May surgery to repair a separated shoulder. The 23-year old is a career .261 hitter with 24 home runs and 49 stolen bases over 1,856 minor league plate appearances.
Arano is a 22-year old currently pitching out of the AA Reading bullpen. The right-hander is having a good season. But he also currently ranks just 21st on the MLB Phillies top prospects list.
That kind of return for Rupp, Kendrick, Nava, or Benoit would have to be considered a jackpot. Hellickson or Neshek could bring back perhaps a decent prospect, but is unlikely to yield anyone who will truly impact the future.
Is there any deal that GM Matt Klentak and the rest of the Phillies brain trust put together that could potentially impact that future? Perhaps.
Would the Phillies move two young, affordable players previously considered part of the future? Could either Maikel Franco or Odubel Herrera be traded away at this point in their careers?


Frankly, Klentak should be open to anything. I think back to the mid-70’s and the Phillies of my youth, remembering a particular key deal involving a core player in the prime of his career.
On May 4, 1975 the Phillies GM Paul Owens shipped away 27-year old first baseman Willie Montanez to the San Francisco Giants. In exchange, San Francisco sent a 25-year old center fielder to Philly by the name of Garry Maddox.
Maddox would play more than a decade for the Phillies. He would win the first of eight career Gold Glove awards that first year. He was a key player on five NL East champs and the 1980 World Series champions. In 2001, Maddox was honored with a place on the Phillies Wall of Fame.
Those are the types of deals that the best general managers are able to pull off at some point. Klentak should be completely open to dealing Franco or Herrera. Same goes for either Cesar Hernandez, or Freddy Galvis if it brings back real talent.
The Phillies do have pieces to deal as the 2017 MLB trade deadline approaches. But I wouldn’t hold my breath on getting anything of long term value in return. There will be nothing to excite Phillies fans later this month – unless Klentak gets truly bold.

Predicting the Phillies Opening Day Roster

Club management with the Philadelphia Phillies, itself the object of much change, has spent the past couple of years shaping the organizational talent for the future.
Some of that young talent has already reached the big leagues. This is most especially true on the pitching staff.
In the everyday lineup, the very best prospects in the Phillies system are nearly ready for their first full-time shot. The 25-man roster that opens the 2017 regular season in just over two weeks is going to look very different by the end of the season.
But let’s not get that far ahead of ourselves. This will be a look not at the Phillies of July or September, but the club that will travel to Cincinnati for that 2017 Opening Day.
The players who begin the season in a Phillies uniform include a number who are on borrowed time. That is because the club has intentionally signed a few players specifically with the knowledge that they will likely (hopefully?) step aside later in the year as the prospects become fully ready.
One major caveat here is that the players listed remain healthy. A minor injury at the start could delay a player who would normally make it. This would provide an opportunity, even if temporary, to someone else. But injuries aside, this is how I see things breaking with Pete Mackanin‘s club at this point.


On the right side of the Phillies infield the starters will be Tommy Joseph and Cesar Hernandez. On the left side it will be Freddy Galvis and Maikel Franco.
The infield should again include Andres Blanco as backup. Another spot should go to Brock Stassi, who really is just a first baseman. However, the Phillies will probably try to get Stassi some corner outfield and pinch-hitting work as well, ala Cody Asche in the past.
Cameron Rupp will be the Phillies starting catcher once again. While 25-year old Andrew Knapp has not hit well enough to win the backup job, I have to believe that he is ready for the opportunity. His age, minor league experience, and 40-man roster spot give him the nod over veterans Ryan Hanigan and Bryan Holaday.


Across that outfield the starters are slated to be Howie KendrickOdubel Herrera, and Michael Saunders. Expect Aaron Altherr to see plenty of action as the fourth outfielder.
I can also see Tyler Goeddel returning to the big league club this season. He handled himself well last year. The club is going to choose between Goeddel or Jesmuel Valentin playing everyday at AAA Lehigh Valley is my thinking.
If we assume that Stassi makes it and is slated for some corner outfield work, the club really has no need for another outfielder. But it’s the Phillies, and they seem to like the idea of a veteran backup outfielder. So I’m going to call it Chris Coghlan over Daniel Nava here.
Keeping Coghlan and Stassi means that the Phillies are going to need to drop two players from the 40-man roster, but they have a few reasonable options there.
That makes for a dozen position players, leaving room for 13 pitchers to begin the year. Five of those make up the rotation, with an eight-man bullpen.


The Phillies starting pitching rotation is likely to be made up Jeremy HellicksonJerad EickhoffClay BuchholzVince Velasquez, and Aaron Nola.
As long as Nola is healthy, and so far it appears that is the case, then he has a spot. But the Phillies may want to ease him along in the fifth starter role. This would enable them to wait until April 9th, a Sunday afternoon at home.
In such a scenario, Nola would start his season with a game against the Washington Nationals. Starting everyone on normal four days rest, he would have to make no more than three April starts.
Right-handers out of the pen should include Jeanmar GomezHector NerisPat NeshekEdubray Ramos, and Colton Murray.
For me, the lefties would be Adam Morgan and Sean Burnett. A long man role could be filled by Alec Asher, who could also serve as an emergency starter along with Morgan. The inclusion of Burnett would mean another drop from the 40-man roster.


So there is my current prediction for the Philadelphia Phillies 2017 Opening Day 25-man roster. I’m sure to be wrong on at least a couple of these picks in the backup and bullpen roles. And injuries can always crop up to put a dent in the best laid plans.
As the season moves along, look for Jake ThompsonRoman QuinnJ.P. Crawford, and Nick Williams to push for the big leagues.
Pitcher Zach EflinNick PivettaElniery Garcia, and Joely Rodriguez could earn promotions. And catcher Jorge Alfaro could also play his way to Philly.
Hellickson, Buchholz, Saunders, and Kendrick all have to be considered as being on borrowed time. Each can hopefully produce, and make themselves a trade option by July at the latest. The Phillies and their fans have to be hoping that this scenario is exactly what plays out.