Contract-year reliever Pat Neshek has enjoyed his season with the Phillies, but the right-hander expects to end up in another uniform by the trade deadline, writes Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. “I would say yes,” Neshek said. “It would be really cool to stay around here. I like it here. I feel very comfortable here. But if that happens … I’m sure it will happen.” The 36-year-old joined the Phillies in an offseason deal with the Astros, and though Neshek’s now on a rebuilding team instead of a contender, he regards the trade as “the best thing that happened to me in a few years.” Given their impressive collection of relievers, Neshek understands why the Astros phased him out, but he was “miserable” in a diminished role last season. “I would almost rather retire than do a role like I was doing for them,” commented Neshek, who has taken advantage of a higher-leverage job in Philadelphia. One of the few Phillies to perform well in 2017, Neshek has pitched to a microscopic .82 ERA over 22 innings, also posting 8.59 K/9 against 1.64 BB/9. In doing so, the $6.5MM man has beefed up his trade value, as MLBTR’s Jeff Todd recently noted.
More from the NL:
- The Reds’ rotation currently ranks last in the majors in both ERA (5.95) and fWAR (minus-0.9), but a couple of reinforcements are on the way, per Mark Sheldon of MLB.com. Righty Homer Bailey and southpaw Brandon Finnegan will begin Double-A rehab assignments in the next week. “I think both of them [could return] by the end of the month,” said manager Bryan Price. “That would be realistic. It’s not written in stone, but I think by the end of the month, we could have both Finnegan and Homer in our rotation.” Bailey hasn’t pitched at all this season after undergoing February surgery to remove bone spurs in his elbow, and has combined for a meager 34 1/3 frames since he had Tommy John surgery in 2015. Before injuries derailed Bailey’s career, he was a quality starter for the Reds, who inked him to a six-year, $105MM extension in 2014. The 31-year-old is still owed more than $60MM through 2020. Finnegan, meanwhile, managed a 2.70 ERA and struck out 14 in 10 innings before going on the DL in mid-April, though he also walked nine. Last season, his first full year as a starter, he managed a 3.98 ERA over a team-high 30 starts.
- While the Reds’ pitching has been disastrous, their position players have been a different story. That group paces the majors in fWAR (13.0), and a large chunk of the unit’s production has come from NL fWAR leader Zack Cozart (3.3). The shortstop produced at respectable levels over the previous two seasons, but he wasn’t anything close to the superstar-caliber performer he has been this season. With that in mind, Dave Cameron of FanGraphs took a look at Cozart’s early success, including a ridiculous .351/.436/.623 line in 225 plate appearances, and came away skeptical that the 31-year-old has truly broken out offensively. There’s nothing in Cozart’s batted-ball data that shows he’s a great hitter now, observes Cameron, who urges the Reds to sell high on him if they can. Cozart is in the final year of his contract, making him a prime trade candidate if Cincinnati goes the expected route and sells at the deadline.
- Mets ace Noah Syndergaard, out since late April with a torn lat, told Boomer and Carton of WFAN on Thursday that he feels “great” (via Matthew Cerrone of MetsBlog). However, Syndergaard’s return isn’t exactly imminent. “I probably won’t be able to pick up a ball for quite some time,” he said. “I have no pain right now, but I want to make sure my lat is nice and stretched out and flexible before I’m ready to go.” Syndergaard should’ve been able to throw off flat ground by now, contends Cerrone, who wonders if the 24-year-old will even pitch again this season if he doesn’t return to throwing by the end of the month.