Breaking: Chicago Cubs Add Major Piece To Bullpen With Free Agent Signing

The Chicago Cubs still have plenty of work to do this offseason before training camp begins in about three weeks, and they got at it on Saturday morning with the signing of a big bullpen piece in Hector Neris.

It's a one-year deal for Neris, who had been looking for two or three years. But the veteran reliever capitulated to the Cubs, and signed a $9 million deal for one year. It does, however, include an option for 2025 that converts from a team option to a player option if he pitches in 60+ games this year. The total value with incentives, according to insider Jeff Passan comes in at a robust $23.25 million.

Neris posted an eye-popping career-best 1.71 ERA at the age of 34 last season with the Houston Astros, though a look under the hood indicates that there was some luck involved: he had a minuscule .219 BABIP and a massive 90.5% strand rate. Those are bound to regress somewhat, but over his career he does have a strong 3.24 ERA and holds batters to a .213 average. 

He's recorded 89 career saves, nearly of them with the Philadelphia Phillies where he served as closer for a couple of seasons, and a late-inning arm throughout. 

Adbert Alzolay took over as the Cubs closer in 2023 and fared extremely well; Neris should be his full-time set-up man. 

The New York Yankees and Texas Rangers were considered two of the leading contenders to land Neris until the Cubs closed the deal with the 10-year veteran.

Photo: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports