ST. LOUIS -- The Rockies' search for bullpen improvements has landed them veteran right-hander Pat Neshek, who was acquired from the Phillies on Wednesday night for three prospects currently at Class A.Neshek, who turns 37 on Sept. 4 and will wear No. 37, is 3-2 with a 1.12 ERA in
ST. LOUIS -- The Rockies' search for bullpen improvements has landed them veteran right-hander Pat Neshek, who was acquired from the Phillies on Wednesday night for three prospects currently at Class A.
Neshek, who turns 37 on Sept. 4 and will wear No. 37, is 3-2 with a 1.12 ERA in 43 games, appeared in the All-Star Game presented by Mastercard earlier this month. Neshek, who also represented the Cardinals in the 2014 Midsummer Classic, is averaging 10 strikeouts per nine innings and just 1.1 walks per nine.
"It's exciting," Neshek said. "You jump right into a playoff race. That's a great team, great offense."
The Rockies, who hold one of the National League Wild Card spots, also received cash considerations in the trade, which came toward the end of Wednesday's 10-5 loss to the Cardinals and well before Monday's non-waiver Trade Deadline.
In the final year of a three-year, $18.5 million contract, Neshek brings postseason experience, with the Twins (2006), Athletics (2012), Cardinals (2014) and Astros (2015). He displayed his funky low-sidearm delivery for Rockies manager Bud Black with the Padres in 2011. Over 11 seasons with six teams, he is 31-21 with a 2.76 ERA and eight saves in 466 appearances.
"He's got different weapons with the fastball, the breaking ball and the changeup," Black said. "He's a strike-thrower. He's a veteran guy that can work his way through an inning or a situation, whatever that might be."
Neshek joins a bullpen that has no postseason experience outside of lefty Jake McGee (Rays, 2011 and 2013), lefty Mike Dunn (Braves, 2010) and closer Greg Holland, who appeared in the World Series with the Royals in 2014; Holland was out with an elbow injury when the Royals won the World Series in 2015.
"We talk about the inexperience of our starters," Black said. "It's great to have the experience of our bullpen."
The acquisition was a lift for the Rockies, who with the loss to the Cardinals absorbed a three-game sweep and have won just three of their last 19 road games. This is the first time the Rockies are contending this late in the season since 2010, when a late collapse left them on the outside looking in. They haven't had a winning season since 2010.
"We are a winning team, and that's what happens," said standout third baseman Nolan Arenado, who was a teammate of Neshek's on this year's World Baseball Classic-winning Team USA, along with McGee. "We have to do this. That's what happens when you have a chance to win, and we need help out there."
Added right fielder Carlos Gonzalez, the only holdover from the Rockies' last playoff team (2009): "It's great to have that kind of scenario now, fighting for what we want."
The trade addresses a key need -- reliable setup for Holland. The team began the season depending on righty Adam Ottavino, but Ottavino has struggled with control, walking 25 and giving up seven home runs in 35 innings. McGee, with 47 strikeouts against 12 walks, has usurped Ottavino in the setup role.
It's not clear if the Rockies can land another reliever -- preferably one whose contract they control beyond this season and could slide into the closer's role should Holland, who has a mutual option for 2015, leave via free agency. The Tigers' Justin Wilson and the Orioles' Brad Brach are among the possibilities. The Rockies also have explored adding an experienced catcher, but are not sure that's possible.
The Phillies, looking for prospects they do not have to protect on their 40-man Major League roster this winter, received infielder Jose Gomez, 20, and right-handers J.D. Hammer, 23, and Alejandro Requena, 20.
The Rockies have also transferred left-hander Tyler Anderson to the 60-day disabled list with inflammation in his left knee, which led to a cleanup surgery. Anderson hasn't pitched since injuring the knee on June 25.
Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and** like his Facebook page**.