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Phillies Acquire RHP Pat Neshek from Astros

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The 36-year-old reliever was an All-Star in 2014.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Who needs to wait until December for the Hot Stove to get hot? For the second off-season in a row, the Phillies have completed a deal with Houston involving a reliever. This time, they're on the receiving end.

Just about a year after a deal sent closer Ken Giles to the Astros, the Phillies acquired right-hander Pat Neshek on Friday evening for cash or a player to be named later, according to the Houston Chronicle's Jake Kaplan. Neshek was 2-2 with Houston in 2016, posting a 3.06 ERA in his 47 innings of work. He allowed 33 hits and had a 0.936 WHIP.

Just days ago, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports had reported that the Astros may be willing to deal Neshek, who had his $6.5 million option for 2017 picked up by the Phillies in the process.

If there is one thing that is known, it is that the Phillies have payroll flexibility. The team payroll could easily be under $50 million in 2017 if no major moves are made. Neshek's $6.5 million contract is a drop in the bucket at this point, and if he pitches well, he could be flipped at the trade deadline for prospects.

This will be Neshek's sixth stop in his career, following Minnesota, San Diego, Oakland, St. Louis, and Houston. Such is the life for a decent middle reliever often called upon to stabilize the back end of a bullpen.

HIs incredible All-Star season in 2014 saw him post a 1.87 ERA for the Cardinals.

The Phillies will want to keep him away from left-handed hitters. Lefties had a .967 OPS against him last year in 48 at-bats. Right-handers mustered just a .462 OPS against him in 130 at-bats. So yes, if he is used properly, Neshek probably won't be more than a right-handed specialist for the Phillies come 2017. In the long slog of a baseball season, the Phillies could use a veteran in the back end of the bullpen. It's only November 4, but it looks like Neshek will be that guy.