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Astros net Héctor Neris with a 2-year, $17 million contract

The ex-Phillies reliever brings his nasty splitter to Houston.

Arizona Diamondbacks v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

It appears the Astros have found their replacement for Kendall Graveman, who recently signed a three-year deal with the White Sox. Héctor Neris, a longtime late-inning reliever for the Phillies, has landed in Houston on a $17 million deal over 2 years.

The 32-year-old Neris possesses one of the game’s most devastating split-fingers, which has helped him sustain an elite whiff percentage and a high strikeout rate the last several years. He has a career ERA of 3.42 and collected 84 saves during his 7-year tenure in Philly, including 12 in 2021. Although walks and ill-timed home runs have been an issue in recent years, Neris posted the highest ground ball rate in his career in 2021.

The Astros entered the offseason needing to sign at least one or two relievers with Graveman and Yimi García entering free agency. Neris’ experience in high-leverage situations and his ability to miss bats make him a solid bullpen addition.

FanGraphs’ Roster Resource now estimates that Houston’s luxury-tax payroll is just over $191 million, potentially leaving James Click roughly $18 million to spend before breaching the current CBT threshold of $210 million.

If there isn’t a notable increase in the new collective bargaining agreement, it’s difficult to envision the Astros signing one of the big-name shortstops on the market such as Trevor Story, Javier Báez or Marcus Semien, who are each expected to command an average annual value (AAV) of more than $20 million. Shortstop remains the club’s biggest hole.