The Cubs caught lightning in a bottle with a revitalized Kevin Gregg for much of the 2013 season, but they'll have a more consistent option in place next season in the form of Jose Veras. Chicago officially announced the signing of Veras to a one-year deal with a club option for the 2015 season today. The Praver/Shapiro client will reportedly earn $3.85MM and has a $150K buyout on a $5.5MM option, making a total guarantee of $4MM. Veras, who will serve as Chicago's closer, can also earn $750K worth of incentives based on games finished.
The 33-year-old posted a 3.02 ERA with 8.6 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 with a 41.8 percent ground-ball rate in 62 2/3 innings between the Astros and Tigers, collecting a career-high 21 saves along the way. The right-hander drew interest from multiple clubs this offseason including the Rockies and Astros.
Veras spent the first four months of the season as Houston's closer before being shipped to the Tigers in July for outfield prospect Danry Vasquez and a player to be named later who turned out to be right-hander David Paulino. Detroit turned down a $4MM option on the veteran, but he would up getting the same guaranteed money out of the Cubs, plus a $150K buyout from Detroit, $750K of incentives from Chicago and a chance at a healthy raise in 2015.
Though Gregg served as Chicago's closer for much of the season, the team relied on a number of late-inning options that did not fare well. Carlos Marmol struggled once again, Shawn Camp was unable to replicate his 2012 magic and found himself released and Japanese acquisition Kyuji Fujikawa wound up requiring Tommy John surgery after just 12 innings with the Cubs. Veras will join Pedro Strop, James Russell, Blake Parker, Wesley Wright and presumably Carlos Villanueva in the Cubs' bullpen. Other internal options include Arodys Vizcaino, Hector Rondon, Brooks Raley and Justin Grimm. Fujikawa should return at some point this season as well.
The Astros were said to be pushing hard to get Veras back in the organization and the fondness seemed mutual. "It feels like family there," Veras said of Houston. "It’s a young team and they’re hungry to win. I feel part of the team. I doesn’t mater to me if we won or lose. When you play as a team and everybody cares, that’s the best part for me." Alas, Veras will be moving on to a new club, his eighth team in the past six seasons.
Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes.com first reported the $4MM guarantee and the $5.5MM club option (via Twitter). Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported Veras' exact 2014 salary, the additional incentives and his 2015 buyout. Heyman also reported that Veras will serve as Chicago's closer (All Twitter links).
Steve Adams contributed to this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Hey, My Cubs finally made a pretty good signing for once this winter. Not going to do anything close to putting us into contention of course but still good signing. Bullpen is starting to look at least halfway decent.
Signing Wesley Wright wasn’t a good signing?
It was a great signing in my opinion. But lefty relievers never get the recognition they deserve.
Not only will Wesley be reunited with Edwin Jackson, but Jose Veras as well. Maybe “the family” Jose was referring to in that article was actually “The Regulators”.In the bullpen and he chose to settle for Wesley alone instead of the whole fam.
No it was a pretty good signing. Veras just a better one to make a bigger impact.
Solid deal for the Cubs. I’m surprised Veras couldn’t get even a 2 year deal. But he should be a good trade chip for the Cubs if they fall out of the race once again.
Yep, all about just gaining another good trade chip. 2015 year as always been the year they take off (hopefully) so getting another trade chip this year is good. I expect Cubs to sign someone like Jason Hammel as well to be this years Scott Feldman
Surprised as well. He must have settled for team where he chance to close, build up stats then get traded at the deadline or hit the market again next year.
I wish I could cross out the if in your statement and replace it with “when”
I had a feeling someone would say something along these lines. In baseball, you just never know what can happen. Look at the 2012 A’s: In the offseason of 2011-12 they traded the likes of Cahill, Gonzalez, and Bailey for unproven talent. After those moves, many predicted that the A’s would be the worst team in baseball and would be lucky to win 70. Yet that following season they won 94 games and topped the high spending Angels and Rangers. I’m not saying the Cubs have a legitimate shot at winning the NL Central this season, but then again who knows. The Pirates were up there with the likes of the Cardinals and Reds all season long, and they weren’t expected to do so. Baseball can be a funny sport at times.
Yea but the offense is so bad. OF of Ruggiano, Lake and Schierholtz, IF of Murphy/Valbuena, Castro, Barney and Rizzo with Castillo behind the plate. None of their young offensive talent is ready to make an impact in 2014.
Not to mention you’ve got the Cardinals, Reds and Pirates in the division.
Cubs willl undoubtedly be sellers. I would love them to grab Tanaka though.
If Castro can turn it around and be the All Star he once was and Rizzo continues to develop into a good hitter at the major league level, that’s two good, young hitters that many teams wished they had. Lake is an intriguing name that really could go either way in terms of production, but the talent is there. Valbuena is a guy who if he can make more contact and get some more hits, then he’s going to have a very high OBP. And guys like Schierholtz and Castillo are not bad at the plate.
That’s a lot of ifs, definitely. And as I said, it’s highly unlikely the Cubs win in 2014. But who knows: Maybe everything goes right for the Cubs and their luck turns around.
Benoit to Yankees please!
They will sign either him or Rodney, though I prefer Benoit
Ewww Rodney sans beard?
I bet they end up signing K-Rod.
That’s actually a very good, very reasonable deal. Veras had a great year last year; very surprised all he managed was a 1yr/4MM deal.
Finally a good signing for my Cubs
It doesn’t put us over the top to contend of course, but it makes our bullpen way better from last year which the bullpen was just embarrassing (Thanks Marmol) and if we are out of time July comes, it gives us a good trade chip
Did you respond to your own comment?
i think he was just making himself clear.
Yes I was, plus some reason they won’t let me post my comments for some odd reason
There is a 100% chance this deal was signed so Theo can trade him in July. Good business, in my book.
Good deal.If veras pitch well Cubs can trade him during the season and get a good prospect back.
June 2014: Tigers acquire Jose Veras.
For some no name prospect/prospects who most likely wont amount to anything
Because the Cubs would take no name prospects? What would be the point?
Yep, straight up for Max Scherzer 🙂
October 2014: Shane Victorino hits grand slam off Jose Veras to return Red Sox to the World Series. 🙂
Trying to build his value and trade him midseason, nothing more. Good move for Chicago but I’m surprised no one else would give him 1/4+incetives/option.
More likely nobody would offer him the closing gig.
Half a season, flip at deadline and thank you for your time. Solid signing.
agreed. I was wondering why he wasn’t mentioned as a target for the Cubs. Good sign and should be able to be flipped(unlike Gregg)
great pickup for the cubs. i remember last year we had 10-15 blown saves the first month or two last year, this is huge.
Yep, Bullpen was awful early on and I know I’m dreaming but if they don’t blow most of those games, Cubs I believe would have been within 5 games at the All-Star break.
Who are you talking too?
Yep, thanks to Marmol mainly. But yea, I believe Cubs would have only been like 5 games out of first at All-Star break if we don’t have many blown saves.
our bullpen was awful last year this is a huge peice that could help players fall into their roles. With Veras, Russell, Parker, and hopefully vizcaino the pen doesnt look that bad.
i forgot wright and strop too
His history has been that he will either strike you out or walk you, but his walk rate has dropped substantially over the past two years. He has given up only 39 home runs in the 377 innings that he has pitched. He averages about 2 wild pitches a year. He is a quality reliever. He is capable of being a quality set-up man or a closer. With the addition of Ruggiano to the outfield and having Junior Lake play a full season with the Cubs, this could be an interesting year for the Cubs. I hope that the Cubs can sign Scott Baker and I would love to see Michael Young sign with Cubs as an older super sub player. He could be an older version of Mark Derosa. Michael Young can hit. I am surprised that no one has signed him to a contract.
Darryl. I am a Cubs fan but I wouldnt call the additions of Ruggiano to team with Lake, Sweeney and Schierholtz in the outfield as “interesting”
The Cubs’ bullpen could be pretty solid with Russell, Wright, Strop, and Veras at the back end
Add in Justin Grimm who looked nice out of the bullpen in September and I think there could be a chance that Arodys Vizcaino could be ready to go out of the pen. By the way I still think they trade Russell before the season starts, just my gut feeling
As a Cubs fan I REALLY like this addition to the team. It’s great to see the front office working on the bullpen because that was by far our biggest weakness last year. Especially middle inning relief.
Is veras good friends with Wesley Wright?
They were teammates last year. Part of “The Regulators” bullpen last year.
33 years old? Where were the Padres on this guy?
This could be a sign of a decent season. If we can rake in Tanka our rotation should be solid next year:
arieta or rusin
with Veras as the closer and us adding more LHP the cubs could start off better and may be able to contend fairly well
Rotation would be:
forgot about jackson
pretty sure NLCENTRALcubs mentioned him.
Decent rotation if Tanaka can be added but looks like the worst offense in baseball to me.
Perfect then that all their upper-minor league talent about to hit the scene is position players
Yeah, hopefully it all works out but those guys won’t be ready this year.
This is a HUGE season for Rizzo and Castro. Really both need to prove that last year was just a down year. For sure for Castro, he was very disappointing the whole season. At least Rizzo showed some life at times throughout the season
Also like to add, be nice Jackson you know come back and at least have an era around 4 lol
wait, no Boone Logan like contract for Jose ?? Jose is the far better pitcher too…
Boone is 3 years younger, and he is a lefty specialist, not many like him. Veras has like 4 other closers on the market. Rodney, Perez, Madson, etc to compete with
Boone Logan was looking for a deal to be a setup man and not a loogy. So, Colorado signed him as a setup man not a specialist.
I highly doubt hes there setup man with Rex Brothers, Letroy Hawkens and Wilton Lopez already in there pen. I doubt it alot.
As a Tiger fan I’m trying to figure out which one of their crappy minor leaguers they’ll send to the Cubs next July for Veras. And I say crappy minor leaguers cuz that’s pretty much 99% of their “prospects” in the minors 🙁
This is a little puzzling as an Astros fan…they couldn’t offer him 4M or a 2 year contract? I hope they have a beat on another possibly better reliever such as Crain, because Qualls and Alberts aren’t quite enough.
When are the Cubs going to finally sign me?
What do you all think of albert almora? Curious on your mlb player comparisons
I would say at tops he ends up being like Ellsbury if the Cubs can get lucky. Most likely I think he will be more like Shane Victorino. But hopefully more like Ellsbury
I agree on both. I was seein if I was bein to hopeful on a ellsbury situation. Maybe that’s y theo and jed didn’t want the real ellsbury…got a 19 year old one haha
Hopefully he turns out to be like Ellsbury
As a Cub fan, I’d be thrilled if he turned out to be at Victorino’s level (as long as it doesn’t take moving through 3 organizations for him to show his talent).
I hope you’re not suggesting it took Victorino that long to show his talent. He was an All Star caliber player 5 yrs ago.
Not sure I like the comps – he doesn’t have that great of speed. He’s more like a 20-20 guy for speed/power at best. He is potentially going to be a very, very good (to great) center-fielder who hits for a solid average, (.290-300,) and decent OBP, (.350-.360,) hits 15-20 HR (with a good amount of doubles,) and steals 20-25 bases (in his prime) – nowhere near 50-70.
And that would make me extremely happy. Cubs fans (of which I’m included) should be excited about the players we have coming up.
That’s pretty much what I see from him, except I think you might be a bit high on the home runs. I see him as more of a 10-15 HR guy. I think he’ll sneak some over the fences but mostly drive the ball into the gaps and run.
Here’s the terrifying comparison though: He reminds me of very close to what we expected from Corey Patterson. Hopefully he turns out with a much better, longer career.
You’re probably right. I think he’s pretty much a lock for 12-15 HR, with potential to hit 20. He’s young, coming off breaking his hamate bone – just thinking he’s got a little room to build up some power, but I could be pushing it.
Either way, he’s an exciting prospect among multiple impact guys. Being a Cubs fan is going to get a lot easier in the coming years.
And just reading that name makes me shudder. Let’s hope not.
He actually should be a little better defensively then Patterson with less power. This guy screams solid lead off hitter. He reads the ball off the bat so well in centerfield that he steals a lot of balls. He may not be a great base stealer but seems to be a very good base runner. I’m curious to see what they do with Baez and all his power, will he be a third baseman? Also I hope Olt can bounce back and make that Garza trade look like an even bigger steal.
They are only signing Vera’s in hopes he has k rod like season and they can move him for a prospect
Somebody jumped to the new year a little early…. “The Cubs caught lightning in a bottle with a revitalized Kevin Gregg for much of the 2014 season”
Ha, looks like I had New Year’s on my mind when I was updating this post. Thanks for the catch. Fixed.
For a pretty decent reliever, this guys sure does like to play for really bad teams…