PHILADELPHIA -- Pat Neshek said he had been asked about being traded since April.Actually, it had been much longer than that. The Phillies acquired Neshek from Houston in November, hoping he would pitch well enough over the first four months of the season to be shipped to a contender in
PHILADELPHIA -- Pat Neshek said he had been asked about being traded since April.
Actually, it had been much longer than that. The Phillies acquired Neshek from Houston in November, hoping he would pitch well enough over the first four months of the season to be shipped to a contender in July. That happened on Wednesday night, when the Phillies traded the right-handed reliever and cash to the Rockies for three Minor Leaguers: shortstop Jose Gomez and right-handers Alejandro Requena and J.D. Hammer. All three were named South Atlantic League All-Stars this year.
"I'm actually relieved," Neshek said. "It's nice. I thought it was going to go until the last day. It's kind of nerve-wracking. You're sitting down there. I read Twitter, and it seemed like every team imaginable was out there. I kind of had a feeling the Rockies might."
Neshek, 36, has a career-low 1.12 ERA through 40 1/3 innings with a 30.4 percent strikeout rate that would be his best mark since his rookie season in 2006. His ERA is second only to Pittsburgh's Felipe Rivero among qualified relievers. The Rockies hope he solidifies their bullpen in the hunt for a National League Wild Card spot.
"There was a lot of interest in Neshek," Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said. "We tried to discern what the best deal was for the Phillies. The Rockies were interested from Day 1. They were consistent in their interest. They were motivated. I think it's a very balanced trade. We got a young starter, a young reliever and a young shortstop that can do a lot of things that we like. We think highly of these three guys."
So who did the Phillies get?
Gomez, 20, slashed .324/.374/.437 with four homers and 18 stolen bases with Class A Asheville. MLBPipeline.com ranked him as the No. 21 prospect in Colorado's farm system, the only prospect of the three ranked among the Rockies' top 30.
Requena, 20, has a 2.85 ERA in 117 innings for Asheville, while Hammer, 23, has a combined 2.36 ERA, 13 saves in 14 opportunities and 65 strikeouts in 42 innings over 36 appearances between Class A Asheville and Class A Advanced Lancaster.
"We're excited about all three of these kids," Klentak said. "Our scouting group really did a good job running all over the country, trying to get extra looks at these players. We're really excited to pull this off."
The Phillies focused their efforts on younger talent that does not need to be protected in the Rule 5 Draft in December. Gomez is the only player who is Rule 5-eligible, meaning he must be placed on the 40-man roster in the offseason or the Phillies would risk losing him.
The Phillies still have Howie Kendrick, Jeremy Hellickson, Joaquin Benoit and Daniel Nava as potential trade pieces. Tommy Joseph is not expected to be traded, but an errant pitch bruised Kendrick's left hand and forced him to exit Wednesday's 9-0 win over the Astros, so his status is in question. Nava is on the DL with a strained left hamstring.
Neshek may ultimately be the only Phillies player traded before Monday's 4 p.m. ET non-waiver Trade Deadline. The others could be traded in August, but such deals would be more difficult because players must clear waivers first.
"Pat was the most targeted player we had," Klentak said. "We'll have to see. I don't want to handicap it. We've received calls on some of our other players, some more serious than others. Health will be a factor."
Klentak declined to say who will be promoted from Triple-A to take Neshek's place in the bullpen. The Phillies could promote right-hander Jesen Therrien, although he would need to be put on the 40-man roster. He has a 1.57 ERA in 18 appearances.
Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast.