Pitchers and catchers will be reporting to Spring Training in about two weeks but a slow offseason means there are still plenty of free agents out there. Over the past week, MLBTR has already taken a look at the remaining catchers, first basemen, second basemen, third basemen, shortstops, center fielders, corner outfielders, designated hitters, starting pitchers and left-handed relievers. We’ll now wrap things up with a look at the right-handed relievers.
- Phil Maton: Acquired from Cleveland in the 2021 Myles Straw trade, Maton has quietly been very effective over the past two years. Since the start of 2022, he has made 135 appearances for the Astros with a 3.42 earned run average. His 26.5% strikeout rate in that time is a few ticks above league average while his 8.8% walk rate is right around par. He’s been excellent at limiting hard contact, as seen on his Statcast page. His 23.5% hard hit rate last year was actually the best in the majors among qualified pitchers, while his average exit velocity was in the top five. In 2022, he was in the top 10 in both those categories as well. He missed the 2022 postseason due to injury but made six scoreless appearances for the Astros in last year’s playoffs. He has received reported interest this offseason from teams like the Phillies, Yankees and Cardinals.
- Ryne Stanek: Another former Astro, Stanek has made 186 appearances over the past three years with a 2.90 ERA. He has struck out 27% of batters faced but also given out walks at a 12.2% clip. That strikeout rate fell to 23.9% in 2023, but he also cut his walk rate to 9.9%, a career low for him. He has reportedly received interest from the Cubs, Red Sox and Mets this winter.
- Ryan Brasier: The 2023 season was inconsistent for Brasier, a reflection of his career overall. After a stint in Japan, he returned to North America with the Red Sox in 2018, posting a 1.60 ERA. From there, his season-by-season ERA went to 4.85, 3.96, 1.50, 5.78 and then 3.02 in the most recent campaign. That 2023 ERA involved a 7.29 mark with the Red Sox and then a tiny 0.70 figure with the Dodgers. When combining his time with both of those clubs last year, his peripherals ended up pretty close to his career numbers. He struck out 23.5% of batters faced and gave out walks to 8% of them last year, near his career rates of 24.1% and 7.4%. Since he finished the year on such a strong note, he has received a fair amount of interest this winter, with clubs like the Cardinals, Dodgers, Angels, Cubs, Orioles, Rangers and Yankees connected to him at various points.
- Jesse Chavez: Though he’s now 40 years old, Chavez doesn’t seem to be slowing down. He made 36 appearances for Atlanta last year with a 1.56 ERA. He surely had a bit of help from the baseball gods there, with a .273 batting average on balls in play and 81.2% strand rate, but the peripherals were still strong. He struck out 27.1% of batters faced, walked 8.3% and kept 51.7% of balls in play on the ground. His 3.05 FIP and 3.35 SIERA were much higher than his ERA but still represent solid work. He missed about three months of last season after being hit in the leg by a comebacker but was back on the mound before the end of the year.
- Liam Hendriks: If Hendriks were healthy right now, he would be on the top of this list. He cemented himself as one of the best closers in baseball a few years ago and racked up 115 saves over the past five seasons. He has a 2.32 ERA since the start of 2019, having struck out 38.3% of batters faced while walking just 5.1% of them. Unfortunately, 2023 was an incredibly challenging year for the right-hander, as he first had to undergo treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. After winning that battle and returning to the mound, he required Tommy John surgery in early August. Since the rehab for that procedure generally goes beyond one year, it’s questionable whether he will be able to pitch at all in the upcoming campaign, though he has said he’s targeting a return around the trade deadline. He can likely find a two-year deal somewhere, with the signing club understanding that they will have a better shot of getting return on their investment in 2025.