When the Colorado Rockies acquired Pat Neshek before the trade deadline, the club showed that their multi-year contention window had opened after a long rebuild. According to fWAR, the 37-year-old right-hander was the fifth best reliever in all of baseball in 2017.
Neshek was the perfect fit for the Rockies and Coors Field, walking only one in his 22 innings with the Purple Pinstripes. He tallied a 2.45 ERA, 0.955 WHIP and a 9.96 K/9 over those 22 innings.
His ‘rising‘ sinker, nasty slider and slow change-up seemed to work perfectly despite a somewhat high flyball rate due to the lack of hard contact.
But the 11-year veteran is a free agent and because of his track record which includes a slick 2.50 ERA over 291.1 innings for five teams over the past seven years, he’s going to command a solid payday no matter his age. In 2014 he signed a $12.5 million, two-year guaranteed contract over two years, with an option for a third year that was picked up at $6.5 million.
Just minutes after Colorado’s NL Wild Card Game loss BSN Denver caught up with Neshek.
“It was a lot of fun (playing for the Rockies,)” he said. “Especially the hitters, they’re going to be a force next year. They’re going to be a special group. Hopefully, Bridich can keep these guys together for five or six years and they’re going to win a lot of games.”
As for his status in free agency?
“I had a lot of fun,” the sidearmer said. “If it’s there, I’d love to come back, but there are going to be a lot of other teams, too, I think. If it comes down to it where it’s pretty close to where the best offer is, yeah you’re going to go back to where you’re comfortable and I was pretty comfortable here. I liked it and my family liked it. But free agency is weird. We’ll see what happens.”
A contract with Neshek would likely require more dollars per year than the previous one as it’s easy to make the case that he was the best set-up man in baseball in 2017. Because of his unique throwing style, aging is less of a concern.
With closer Greg Holland and stud left-handed reliever Jake McGee also hitting free agency, Colorado has a lot of questions this offseason with their bullpen.