The Philadelphia Phillies and reliever Hector Neris agreed to a one-year/$5 million deal for 2021 before the 8 p.m. deadline to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players, per Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia.
Jon Heyman of MLB Network adds that Neris has a $50,000 bonus as part of the deal as well.
Neris, 31, had his $7 million option for 2021 declined by the Phillies in late October after he posted a 4.57 ERA in 24 games for Joe Girardi’s team in 2020. That proved to be a wise move on the part of the Phillies, who have saved $2 million with this news.
As frustrating as Neris has been at times, there’s ample evidence that he was unlucky in 2020, and pitched at a higher level than his back-of-the-baseball-card statistics would indicate. Opponents had a .381 batting average on balls in play against Neris, a clip that likely would have been unsustainable over a 162-game season, let alone multiple years. Neris’ 2.50 FIP is also significantly lower and more impressive than his aforementioned ERA.
Neris has 72 saves in his career, though the Phillies seemed to prefer to use him in a set-up role after acquiring Brandon Workman at midseason. Unfortunately for them, the acquisition of Workman proved disastrous, and they’ll likely need to invest in a veteran on the free agent market, such as Liam Hendriks or Brad Hand, to avoid using Neris as their primary closer in 2021.
The Phillies did avoid arbitration with Seranthony Dominguez Tuesday, though he had Tommy John surgery in August, so if he’s able to help the Phillies bullpen at all in 2021, it won’t be until late in the season.
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