HOUSTON, TX - The Houston Astros have exercised their 2017 option on catcher Evan Gattis, Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow announced today. The club has also traded right-handed pitcher Pat Neshek to the Philadelphia Phillies for a player to be named later.
Gattis, 30, led the Astros and set a single-season career high with 32 home runs in 2016. In 128 games, he hit .251 (112x447) with 32 doubles, 72 RBI and a career-high .826 OPS (.319 OBP/.508 SLG). Gattis hit 19 of his home runs in his 55 games behind the dish, which set a new single-season franchise record for home runs hit by a catcher and also ranked third among AL backstops for the year. During September's stretch drive, he hit 10 home runs for the month while posting a .618 slugging percentage. Gattis recorded a caught stealing percentage of 46.4% (13-of-28) in his 55 games at catcher, which was the second-highest mark among all Major League catchers with at least 50 games played.
The club option was part of a one-year contract that the Astros and Gattis signed on Feb. 16, 2016. He was originally acquired from Atlanta along with right-handed pitcher James Hoyt in exchange for right-handed pitcher Mike Foltynewicz, infielder Rio Ruiz and right-handed pitcher Andrew Thurman on Jan. 14, 2015. In his two seasons with the Astros, Gattis has compiled 59 home runs, 160 RBI and a .483 slugging percentage in 281 games.
Neshek, 36, made 126 appearances out of the Astros bullpen over the last two seasons, posting a 5-8 record with a 3.36 ERA (38ER/101.2IP) and 94 strikeouts. The right-handed pitcher initially signed a two-year deal with the Astros that included a club option for the 2017 season on Dec. 12, 2014.