April 14, 2024

The Chicago Cubs wanted to seek out reinforcements for the bullpen.

Buying a reliever with a constant observe document was significantly vital, and one thing they lastly addressed Saturday.

The Cubs and veteran reliever Héctor Neris have agreed to a one-year, $9 million deal that features a $9 million staff choice for 2025, a supply instructed the Tribune. Neris’ membership choice converts to a participant choice if the right-hander seems in 60 video games, a mark he has hit every of the final three years and 6 of eight seasons excluding the shortened 2020 season. His contract can in the end max out at $23.25 million with incentives.

Bringing in Neris addresses key wants within the bullpen. He brings sturdiness, pitching in not less than 70 video games 5 occasions, and offers the Cubs a confirmed again finish of the ‘pen reliever who has expertise pitching in huge video games. The Cubs bullpen struggled down the stretch en path to lacking the 2023 postseason as an inexperienced group wore down and battled accidents in September.

Neris, 34, owns a profession 3.24 ERA over 546 big-league appearances coming off two seasons in Houston, together with a World Collection title in 2022. He additionally spent eight years with the Philadelphia Phillies. Primarily used within the seventh and eighth innings the previous two seasons with the Astros, Neris additionally has expertise closing, tallying 5 saves in Houston and 84 with the Phillies.

Neris offers the Cubs one other splitter within the bullpen to accompany right-hander Mark Leiter Jr., whose pitch has been a shutdown weapon versus lefties. Neris makes use of his splitter towards righties and lefties, a pitch that generated a 42.2 Whiff% and .237 slugging share in 2023. Whereas he usually depends on a four-seam fastball and splitter mixture opposing left-handed hitters, Neris additionally mixes a sinker and slider when dealing with right-handed batters. His common fastball velocity dropped by 1.3 mph from 2022 to 2023, however this deal signifies the Cubs are usually not considerably involved by that.

The Cubs’ work on constructing a extra confirmed bullpen shouldn’t be full with Neris’ acquisition. They nonetheless want extra depth and ideally one other postseason-tested reliever.

And with Cody Bellinger among the many notable place gamers nonetheless obtainable in free company, the Cubs are able to making important roster enhancements within the coming weeks.