PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies planned to improve their bullpen this offseason, and they took a step on Friday, when they announced they acquired right-hander Pat Neshek from the Astros for a player to be named or cash considerations.
The Phillies exercised Neshek's $6.5 million club option for 2017.
Neshek, 36, went 2-2 with a 3.06 ERA and 0.94 WHIP in 60 relief appearances.
Phillies acquire Pat Neshek from Astros
According to FanGraphs' weighted pitch types, Neshek had the eighth-most effective slider of any American League reliever. OnlyDellin BetancesKen GilesAndrew MillerAlex ColomeSteve Cishek,Nate Jones and Robbie Ross Jr. fared better.
Neshek is 28-19 with a 2.93 ERA and seven saves in 423 career games over a 10-year career. He made the 2014 National League All-Star team while with the Cardinals.
The Phillies' bullpen had a 5.01 ERA last season, which ranked 28th in Major League Baseball. It would not be a surprise to see the Phillies acquire at least one more veteran reliever before Spring Training. 
Free agents like Joe Blanton or Blaine Boyer might make sense. Teams that make a big commitment to a free-agent closer like Aroldis Chapmanor Kenley Jansen might lose their own free-agent relievers in the process. That means teams like the Giants (Santiago Casilla and Sergio Romo) and Nationals (Marc Rzepczynski) might see their own relievers head elsewhere.
Todd Zolecki/

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