The Philadelphia Phillies can easily cash out Pat Neshek

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JUNE 15: Pat Neshek /

The Philadelphia Phillies have numerous landing spots for All-Star Pat Neshek, and they should look to acquire some young talent in return to build for the future.

The MLB season sits at the All-Star break and the Philadelphia Phillies sit at the bottom of the division, again. The Phillies have proved to the rest of the league that they are sellers at the trade deadline. The club was quiet at last season’s deadline, but dealt Cole Hamels to the Texas Rangers in 2015. That deadline deal can be viewed as a success, considering three of the five players the Phillies received in the trade have made major league stints already. At this season’s deadline, the Phillies should have one priority: selling All-Star middle reliever Pat Neshek. In his second All-Star season, Neshek has recorded a 1.31 ERA, a 0.90 WHIP, and only five walks in 34.1 innings pitched. Here are three suitable teams for the All-Star.

Houston Astros

The Houston Astros have reached the milestone of 60 wins at the All-Star break and it seems like this could be their year to make their voices heard as a legitimate contender in the playoffs, something Houston has not been able to do in a while. The only loose puzzle piece is the bullpen and with a quick fix, the Astros could find themselves playing late in October.

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Now yes, the Astros did trade Neshek to the Phillies for only cash considerations after spending the past two years with the team, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be a good fit now. Neshek posts a 20% inherited runners scored percentage, while the MLB average is 31%. He is usually called upon in middle of innings to get previous pitchers out of jams with runners on. A reliever like that is just what the Astros bullpen needs to be complete for a World Series run. Houston has the league worst 40% inherited runners scored percentage, meaning their clutch situation middle relievers do not get the job done. This makes Neshek a perfect fit for Houston.

The Astros and Phillies have a long history of trading with each other, the most recently the deal that sent closer Ken Giles to Houston for Vince Velasquez and others. In that deal, Astros outfield prospect, Derek Fisher, was taken out of the deal at the end of negotiations. In order for this deal to happen, Houston may have to deal Fisher for real this time. He has made one major league stint in June, but was sent back down to Triple-A Fresno after just one week. Fisher has a .306/.370/.575 batting line, 19 HR and 56 RBI in 74 games with Triple-A Fresno this year. If the Astros are in negotiations for Neshek at the deadline, expect Derek Fisher’s name to be brought up in the talks.

Washington Nationals

It seems as if it’s the new norm for the Washington Nationals to win the National League East division, only to lose in the divisional round of the playoffs because the team broke down. This season, however, the offense will not be the loose screw. Washington’s bullpen will need the tightening.

Managers are not shy about yanking a starting pitcher after three or four innings in the playoffs if he can’t execute, which means lots of innings from the bullpen – something the Nats relievers are not capable of.

Their relievers average to only record 2.9 outs per appearance, the lowest in all of baseball. Since the Nationals relievers can only squeak out maybe an inning of work per game, they need numbers in the bullpen, and numbers that can get results. Neshek can offer that extra reliever that can give the bullpen the stamina it needs.

Six Washington relievers have recorded saves this season, showing that there is no definite closer, whoever is suitable for the ninth inning against that particular lineup will pitch. Neshek is used to being thrown into different situations, since he has mainly been used in the middle of innings with Philadelphia, so he will not be reluctant in acting as a closer if need be.

Chicago Cubs

To the shock of the whole baseball world, the Chicago Cubs find themselves below .500 at the All-Star break, just one season after bringing home the World Series title. President of Baseball Operations, Theo Epstein, made it clear that, “There’s no player we can realistically bring in from the outside that’s going to spur us to play at that level.”

However, Epstein is notorious for making sporadic moves when it is least expected. Don’t be surprised to find the Cubs in talks at the deadline.

Chicago’s bullpen has a 37% inherited runners scored percentage, fifth worst in baseball. Neshek’s 20% could help alleviate some of the damage that is caused by middle relievers letting in inherited runners. Pedro Strop has the most inherited runners of all the relievers on the team, showing that he is the go-to reliever in the middle of innings, except he doesn’t really get the job done. He posts a 45.8% inherited runners scored percentage, one of the worst in the MLB for having so many inherited runners. The Cubs could use a pitcher like Neshek to take over in Strop’s role.

Chicago’s starting pitchers average to only get through 5.4 innings of work per start, meaning the bullpen needs to get through the other 3.6 innings, which is the sixth most bullpen innings per game by the team. Starters tend to last even less in the playoffs, so the bullpen will have to get through even more innings, making the case even stronger for adding on another All-Star arm, like Pat Neshek.

Next: Philadelphia Phillies: Is trading Franco the right move?

The MLB trade deadline approaching makes team decide whether their team is either a buyer or seller, and the Philadelphia Phillies this year are no doubt sellers with the worst record in baseball at the All-Star break. The team’s only All-Star selection, Pat Neshek, can be trade bait for the Phillies to receive some much needed prospects to build on for the future.