Cubs finalizing 1-year, $9 million deal with Hector Neris: Source



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By Patrick Mooney, Ken Rosenthal and Sahadev Sharma

The Chicago Cubs are finalizing a one-year, $9 million contract with Hector Neris, a league source confirmed Saturday, adding to their bullpen an experienced reliever who helped the Houston Astros win the 2022 World Series.

The bullpen has been a focus for Jed Hoyer’s baseball operations group since the Cubs collapsed last September and missed the playoffs by one game. Among several breakdowns, the Cubs did not make it to October with a relatively fresh group of trusted relievers. Whether that falls more on the front office, the coaching staff or player development, David Ross ultimately absorbed the blame.

Firing Ross and hiring Craig Counsell will give the Cubs a skilled tactician in the dugout. Counsell also had some exceptionally talented relievers on his side while managing the Milwaukee Brewers. Neris, 34, represents exactly what the Cubs wanted to add this winter — a reliever with know-how in big games and the late innings.

Neris also won’t be working on a long-term deal, which fits Hoyer’s bullpen-building philosophy. The contract includes a team option for 2025 that converts to a player option if Neris appears in 60 games this season. ESPN first reported the agreement.

Neris appeared in 71 games with the Astros last season, posting a 1.71 ERA with 77 strikeouts in 68-plus innings. He notched 84 of his 89 career saves with the Philadelphia Phillies, the organization that originally signed him out of the Dominican Republic.

Between signing Neris and trading for Yency Almonte, the Cubs are methodically collecting more options for Counsell. The bullpen group already includes Adbert Alzolay, who emerged as a dominant closer when healthy last season, and Julian Merryweather and Mark Leiter Jr. In trying to take the next step into the playoffs, the Cubs are planning to rely on a flexible pitching staff, the young talent coming up through their farm system and a manager known for pushing the right in-game buttons.

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(Top photo of Hector Neris: Alex Bierens de Haan / MLB Photos via Getty Images)





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