With the Yankees looking to bolster their pitching staff, it’s being reported that they’re looking into adding Hector Neris according to Hector Gomez. The right-hander posted a 1.71 ERA across 68.1 innings for the Houston Astros last season and declined an $8.5 million player option to hit free agency this past winter. Entering his age-35 season, Neris has corrected a lot of the issues that plagued him in Philadelphia, most notably his home run problem that made him inconsistent and unreliable at times as the Phillies’ closer.
His +3.88 Win Probability Added in 2023 was sixth among relievers, and with his solid four-seamer and excellent splitter, he does a strong job of limiting damage contact and could fit the Bronx nicely.
Yankees Continuing to Monitor Pitching Market
Hector Neris did lose a tick on his four-seamer this past season, but it didn’t slow him down in the slightest as he was able to have his best season in the Majors thus far. The right-hander has been a reliable option for the Houston Astros over the past two seasons and could be a nice upgrade for the middle of the Yankees’ bullpen. His flexibility as a middle-inning relief arm or closer makes him an attractive option for Aaron Boone, who could turn to Neris at any point of the game to try and get big outs.
While it’s rare, he can also get more than three outs if needed, and he also has extensive postseason experience over the past two seasons in Houston. Neris was a huge part of their 2022 World Series run, striking out nine batters in six innings with a 1.50 ERA, and while his past postseason he held an ugly 6.48 ERA, he still had a positive Win Probability Added. Landing another high-leverage option in a bullpen full of excellent relievers could make the bullpen dominant, complimenting the addition of Marcus Stroman well.
Marcus Stroman should round out the Yankees’ rotation, and Luke Weaver will also serve as an MLB arm who can slot into the rotation if needed. If the Yankees suffer injuries, their bullpen can expect greater usage as the team looks to shorten games for Weaver or whoever becomes the fifth starter temporarily, and Neris could give the Yankees more insurance to pull it off.
It’s unlikely that anybody currently in their bullpen outside of Luke Weaver could be converted to a starter if need be, but MiLB depth such as Will Warren, Clayton Beeter, Yoendrys Gomez, or Luis Gil could be viewed as options to start if the Yankees need a seventh or eighth starter. In 2022 we saw their aggressive usage of JP Sears allow them to give starters in their rotation rest, and it wouldn’t be shocking to see a similar strategy adopted with a rotation full of question marks.
Other names the Yankees have been linked to this winter include Yariel Rodriguez who could also provide the team much-needed rotation depth. Whether the Yankees go with a traditional reliever like Hector Neris or try a swingman like Yariel Rodriguez, it’s clear that they view their pitching staff as imperfect, and will search for opportunities to make improvements where they can.