It’s time – we are now beyond the start of Free Agency at 12:01 AM November 5. We at Phillies Nation will take a look at a players, mostly outfielders, catchers, starting pitchers, and relievers, who the Phillies may target this offseason. We will explore potential performance, fit, cost, and feasibility. We continue today with right-handed, side-arming reliever Pat Neshek. And a reminder: you can check out all the “Pass or Play” posts by clicking on the category hyperlink.
If it seems like we’ve talked about Neshek before at Phillies Nation, it is because we have not too long ago. From two months ago:
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.
Neshek was designated for assignment on August 26 and went unclaimed by every team. Were they on to something? 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 had been based mostly in luck. Neshek ranks 42 out of 374 relievers from 2006-2013 in WHIP (1.130), however, indicating that he has some skill in keeping runners off base.
As mentioned when talking about Joe Nathan, Jose Veras, Grant Balfour, Joe Smith, and others, the Phillies’ bullpen was ranked 14th out of 15th in ERA, FIP, and xFIP in the National League last season and there are not a ton of promising bullpen arms that the Phillies haven’t yet seen in the Majors. Like Smith and Veras, Neshek is a pretty interesting veteran name with a solid, consistent track record as a Major League reliever.
Neshek made just under $1 million last season with the A’s and is a Super Two player. If signed to a Major League contract, he would likely make between $1-1.25 million. If signed to a minor league contract, his price obviously goes down. This cost will not be prohibitive to the Phillies.
Without knowing too much about Neshek, it is tough to peg where he would desire to play, as he has played on the West Coast for the latter part of his career but not necessarily by choice. When granted free agency by the Padres after the 2011 season, Neshek chose to sign with Baltimore but was later purchased by the Oakland A’s. The player, cost, and need all fit the Phillies’ bill and he would certainly be worth a flier.
Verdict: Play, play, play
Neshek fits the bill, more so than even Smith or Veras, as a relatively inexpensive veteran arm that can produce a series of solid appearances for the Phillies. An absolute play.