MIAMI – Pat Neshek arrived at Marlins Park on Monday afternoon to find the nice, crisp Phillies uniform and gold-tipped hat he will wear for Tuesday's All-Star Game. And he knows that it is just a matter of time until a different team's jersey is waiting for him.
It is no secret that the Phillies are trying to ship Neshek – their most reliable pitcher – before the July 31 trade deadline. It would be a shock if Neshek is still with the Phillies on Aug. 1. The 36-year-old middle reliever is a free agent after the season. He will give a contender a proven bullpen piece.
Neshek even reads his own trade rumors, trying to figure out where he could end up. A new team pops up every day, Neshek said. He joked that he hopes to join the team with the best record.
"I've been dealing with it since the first day I got traded to Philly," Neshek said. "… It's not like it wasn't expected. It would be nice for me one year to just stay somewhere three years. I'd go nuts."
Neshek entered the All-Star break with a 1.27 ERA, allowing runs in just two of his 38 appearances. It is the best season of his career and he may soon finish the season for a team in a pennant race.
"I've been in the playoffs seven different times so I know that I'd do well," Neshek said. "I think everyone wants to get that adrenaline going. When I was with St. Louis, it was a letdown that they didn't get to the World Series. That was the furthest that I've ever got and it was an off year for St. Louis. It was incredible. Every night you would go back out there and you're sore, but you're just going to battle. That's what we all want to do. Win games."
Neshek hopes to leave the All-Star Game with an autograph from Zack Greinke, one of the players he has had trouble scoring a signature from. If Neshek comes up short, it will be the second time this year that the avid collector is left disappointed when trying to secure an elusive piece of memorabilia.
Neshek was the runner-up earlier this year for a 1909 T206 Honus Wagner card, perhaps the most famous baseball card in history. The winning bid was $600,000. Neshek's bid was $10,000 less.
"I came really close and it was a really crappy one. It was graded a 'one,' " Neshek said. "I got called after and was like 'Hey, do you want to pay this for it?' 'Nope.' "
Greinke, a historically tough autograph to find, was not at Monday afternoon's All-Star Media Day so Neshek didn't have a chance to ask him. Neshek planned to hunt him down during the Home Run Derby. He tried to land Greinke's signature last month when the Diamondbacks visited by sending over cards with a clubhouse attendant, a routine Neshek does with almost every visiting team. The request was denied.