Heading into the off-season, there were rumors that the Cubs would not re-sign Closer, Kevin Gregg, even though he saved 33 games. Instead they would hand the job over to Reliever, Pedro Strop. Well half of that is true, they are not going to bring back Gregg, but Strop will battle for the closer job with Reliever, Jose Veras, and maybe others after the Cubs signed him on Tuesday.
After bouncing between the Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers organizations, Veras made his Major League debut with the New York Yankees in 2006 and pitched a part of four seasons with them. Then he was let go in a trade in June of 2009 to the Cleveland Indians for cash. He pitched for the Indians until the end of the season, and was not offered a contract for 2010. He then became a free agent. He signed with the Florida Marlins for one year and, pitched for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Milwaukee Brewers also for one year each. Then, this past season, he signed a one year contract once again with the Houston Astros. He saved 19 games before being traded at the deadline in July to the Detroit Tigers. He then moved back into a set-up role for them. However, the Tigers did not offer him a contract. Once again he became a free agent.
His deal with the Cubs is ironically one year for $4 million, but contains a $5.5 million option for 2015 plus incentives. Baseball insiders say though, he is a perfect candidate to be traded at the deadline in July for prospects. This would open the door for Strop to get the job if he does not have it all ready.
Veras throws in the mid-90’s with his fastball, and has a mid-80’s slider. Who knows what role he will have but for now it is welcome to Chicago Jose!