MIAMI — Phillies All-Star sidearmer Pat Neshek sounds like a man who wants to be in a pennant race. He’s a veteran, he’s a free agent after this season, he’s on a team that’s rebuilding.
In other words, he’s the perfect trade target for the Red Sox.
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“It’s been one of those years where I kind of feel like there’s a lot more in store, where something really good’s going to happen,” Neshek said. “You know you got the WBC, you got the All-Star Game, let’s top it off with a World Series.
“And if not, it might sound weird, but I really like Philly.”
The problem for a reliever who turns 37 in September, if unspoken, is that the Phillies right now can’t get him what he lacks: a World Series ring. Neshek, a righty, has a 1.27 ERA in 38 appearances for the Phillies — and he’s doing even better against lefties (.188) than he is righties (.234).
He pitched for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic in March and he followed National League starter Max Scherzer with a scoreless inning in the All-Star Game on Tuesday.
Asked how he’d feel about a trade to the Red Sox, Neshek played it safe.
“Hey, I’ve heard, I think I’ve heard everything in the last couple weeks,” Neshek said. “Any team that’s in it I think you know, you know I hear from my agent [about the] teams and then I hear your stories of four different teams I never even heard of. Yeah, it’s fun, I mean, for me, it’s going to be, if it happens, getting my family to the next city [will be the concern]. I don’t think on-field stuff’s going to be a problem. For me, if it does happen it’ll be really fun to go into a playoff race.”
“Fenway is cool. It used to intimidate me but after playing in Houston with [the short porch in left field called the] Crawford Boxes, it’s like, oh, this is kind of nice.”
Neshek has a 2.79 ERA. Last year he had a 3.06 ERA and the year before that a 3.62 ERA — both years were with the Astros — but this year has been one of his very best.
“I think they just give me the ball and let me roll with it, and that’s what happened with St. Louis [in the 2014 playoff run],” Neshek said. “Houston, it was that way the first year for a little bit. I pitched with a broken foot in ’15 the whole year. It wasn’t fun. We found it after the season. But I think any time you just give me the ball, you know I got the deception, I think it’s tough for hitters to pick up. It’s nice [for the Phillies] to realize that, and then for me, it’s nice for a lot of the GMs around the league to see that too.”
Neshek said he hasn't talked to the team about its trade intentions.
"I think I could," Neshek said. "I think [general manager] Matt Klentak, he’s real open. I never really approached him about asking him about that stuff. But he’s awesome, I mean, he’s always around. You know I talk with [manager] Pete Mackanin all the time. ... I feel like I if wanted to go that route, it’s an easy discussion."