Jose Veras the former closer for the Houston Astros and Detroit Tigers has signed a deal with the Chicago Cubs. Veras was traded mid-season last year to the Tigers and had a small role in Detroit’s playoff run. Veras played for the Yankees, Indians, Marlins, Pirates, and Brewers before joining the Astros in 2012. He was then traded to Detroit for Danry Vasquez near the deadline. His pitching style consists of a mid to high 90 mph fastball and a slider.
For the Cubs this means that Pedro Strop will compete with Veras for the closing role in spring training. The loser of the battle will join a list of arms in the bullpen who ranked 25th in ERA last season. They blew 26 saves and adding Veras can only help solidify the pen. Last year Veras had 21 saves and was used as a setup man for the Detroit Tigers. Like in Houston he could be used as trade bait during the deadline if the Cubs are not in contention. The contract is worth $4 million with a $5.5 million option for 2015.
This is a good signing for the Cubs. They get a closer for a cheap price. The market was running out at the closer position as John Axford went to the Indians, and Joaquin Benoit signed with the Padres.
The Cubs have also signed former San Francisco Giant Jonathan Sanchez to compete for a spot in the bullpen this year. Sanchez, who is 31, will be invited to spring training to see if he still has the stuff. He had an 8.75 ERA and 2.15 WHIP in 78 1/3 innings for the Royals, Pirates, and Rockies over the last two seasons.
Also signing for the Cubs for a shot in the rotation is former Baltimore Oriole Tsuyoshi Wada, who has signed to a minor league contract. Wada signed a 2 year $8 million dollar deal with Baltimore before 2012 but never turned out to be the player he was after his Tommy John surgery. In Japan, Wada played for the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks and was the 2003 Pacific Rookie of the Year.