Pat Neshek was designated for assignment today by the Oakland A’s. Neshek, 32, was having a pretty pedestrian year for the A’s, posting a 3.58 ERA with 6.7 K/9 IP. As noted by MLB Trade Rumors, Neshek’s peripheral and advanced stats, namely FIP (4.57, defined here), xFIP (4.66, defined here), and SIERA (4.18, defined here) indicate that his 2013 performance in 37 2/3 innings has been based mostly in luck, but Neshek is worth putting a waiver claim in for.
Neshek, known for his side-armed delivery, has been absolutely dominant against right-handed hitters through his career, with a triple-slash-against line of .183/.256/.319, earning a strikeout against three out of every ten right-handed hitters he has faced. Neshek has also been successful against lefties, creating a career .203/.284/.361 line-against against all handed hitters, with a 1.134 WHIP and 9.1 K/9 IP.
The downside to Neshek? Age and consistency are factors. At age 32, Neshek has had only two seasons where he has appeared in 40 games or more at the Major League level. Neshek did suffer a torn UCL in his right arm during the 2008 season but came back strong in 2010 and has only gained steam since joining Oakland after being released by Baltimore last season.
What makes Neshek even more intriguing is the fact that he is a Super Two player with one more year of arbitration eligibility remaining with a 2013 salary of just under $1 million. A Neshek pick-up would also give the team who claims him the option of bringing him back for 2014.
What would prevent the Phillies from acquiring him? Well, Neshek is one of the best relief pitchers to hit the waiver wire in quite some time and he would have to clear the entire American League and then most of the National League. Remember: the Phillies just won a waiver claim on Casper Wells, so their waiver priority is very low. Neshek would be a plus addition to the Phillies bullpen but the odds are slim that they could acquire him.