1:38pm: The option is priced at $7MM, per Jon Heyman of MLB Network (via Twitter), but that value can move significantly north. It’ll cost an extra $50K for every five games finished, beginning at his 10th and ending at his 35th. The needle moves $100K at 40, 45, and 50 games finished. And the option price jumps $200K at numbers 55, 60, and 63. That adds up to $1.2MM in total potential escalators.
9:42am: The Phillies have announced their agreement with Neris, revealing that the contract also contains a club option for the 2021 season. That it’s not a straight one-year pact perhaps explains the reason that the team broke from the file-and-trial approach. If the team ultimately declines the option, Neris would still remain under club control as an arbitration-eligible player.
7:35am: The Phillies have avoided an arbitration hearing with right-hander Hector Neris, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports (via Twitter). The last-minute settlement will guarantee Neris a $4.6MM salary for the upcoming season. Neris settled slightly below the midpoint between his own $5.2MM submission and the club’s $4.25MM counter.
Neris, 30, racked up 28 saves as the Phillies’ primary closer in 2019, pitching to a strong 2.93 ERA with averages of 11.8 strikeouts, 3.2 walks and 1.33 home runs per nine innings pitched. He appeared in 68 games and tallied 67 2/3 innings en route to an impressive rebound effort from a down year in 2018. He’ll be eligible for arbitration for a third and final time next winter before reaching free agency in the 2021-22 offseason.
The one-year arrangement represents a rarity in today’s arbitration environment. Virtually all clubs utilize a “file and trial” approach to the process — meaning that once figures are exchanged with a player, negotiations on a one-year settlement cease, leaving the two sides to determine the player’s salary in a hearing. (Multi-year deals are typically still negotiated if there’s mutual interest, however.) Astros outfielder George Springer also avoided arb on a one-year deal last month, although that agreement was seemingly negotiated directly with owner Jim Crane after he dismissed president of baseball operations Jeff Luhnow.
The Phillies won an arbitration hearing over All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto yesterday, thus keeping his salary at the $10MM figure they submitted — as opposed to Realmuto’s own $12.4MM submission. With their arbitration cases now resolved, the Phillies should check in with a bottom-line payroll just north of $182.5MM and roughly $203.9MM in luxury tax commitments (per Roster Resource’s Jason Martinez). That leaves them just over $4MM shy of the luxury tax barrier.