During the offseason, the rebuilding Houston Astros signed journeyman RP Jose Veras to a one-year deal worth $2 million with a club option in 2014 for $3.5 million. It was a very modest contract for the veteran as he instantly became the favorite to close for the Astros. Veras became a free agent in November 2012 when the Milwaukee Brewers outrighted him off of their 40 man roster. He posted a 3.63 ERA over 67 innings, including 79 strikeouts.
As has been the case with the rebuilding Astros over the past few seasons, any veteran with trade value is likely trade bait. Veras is no exception as he has has 14 saves in 17 opportunities to go with a 3.93 ERA this season. He hasn’t been lights-out, but that’s just not his forte. He won’t overpower anyone, but his pitching style is effective as he has gotten the job done.
Coming into this season, Veras had just five total saves stretched across seven seasons with the New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians, Miami Marlins, Pittsburgh Pirates and Brewers. Generally considered just another bullpen arm, Veras will likely be traded before the trading deadline on July 31 as teams in the hunt for the postseason search for bullpen arms to help out down the stretch.
It’s doubtful that Veras will remain a closer if traded to a team in contention. The Astros could trade him to a team that’s just looking to fortify their bullpen as they did Brett Myers last season when he was shipped to the Chicago White Sox.
Myers was Houston’s closer but became a setup man in Chicago. However, there are teams such as the Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers, who just removed their closer from his job due to poor results and could see a guy like Veras as a nice replacement option. With just over a month left until the trade deadline, the Astros will be very active and Veras looks likely to be donning another uniform by this time next month.