With Mariano Rivera retiring and Joba Chamberlain likely done as a member of the New York Yankees, GM Brian Cashman will need to bring in a bullpen arm or two to help solidify the backend of the bullpen. There are several options on the free agent market ranging from Joe Nathan to Edward Mujica. However, there is one player who is familiar to Yankees’ fans that could be brought in to help stabilize the bullpen, right-hander Jose Veras.
Veras, who just turned 33 in October, had his option declined by the Detroit Tigers. Veras, thanks to escalator clauses, would have been slated to make $4 million this season, hardly an exorbitant amount of money. There is a chance the Tigers will look to sign Veras to a more team friendly deal. However, the right-hander should also garner plenty of interest on the open market and the Yankees could be one of those teams.
This past season, Veras posted a 3.02 ERA in 67 games with 60 strikeouts in 62.2 innings with 21 saves. He split the year between the Houston Astros and Tigers and recorded 19 of his 21 saves in Houston. He doesn’t have much experience closing out games but has been a fairly steady set-up man and owns a 3.84 ERA across 394 games and 377 innings. He has averaged 9.3 K/9 for his career and has been a solid contributor to several bullpens since leaving the Yankees in 2009.
The Yankees will likely need some veteran help as young players like Preston Claiborne, Dellin Betances, David Phelps, Adam Warren and Mark Montgomery will vie for spots in the pen with Shawn Kelley providing the only real veteran presence as a set-up man since lefty Boone Logan is set to become a free agent and David Robertson looks like he will assume the closer’s role. The Yankees will need some veteran presence and Veras seemed to enjoy his time with the Yankees and he shouldn’t break the bank.
Veras was going to make $4 million in 2014. He might be looking for slightly more than that but if the Yankees offered a two or three year deal worth an average of $3-4 million per year that might be enough to bring him on board. Since leaving the Yankees in 2009, Veras has played for six teams. That is six teams in five years so Veras could look sign for less if it offers him a chance to stop living a nomadic lifestyle. Either way, Veras is worth taking a look at for the Yankees.