Out of all the areas that need improvements on the Chicago Cubs roster for this season, the bullpen is certainly one that should see lots of things changed in this next campaign.
Gone are players like Shawn Camp and Carlos Marmol and with the possible departure of free agent Kevin Gregg, the Cubs could try to build a homegrown pen as they have several power arms in the system like Justin Grimm, Neil Ramirez, Alberto Cabrera and Hector Rondon that could find a place on the 25-man roster consistently.
But if they are looking to upgrade their arms through free agency, one name that the Cubs could target is Jose Veras.
The former Detroit Tigers flamethrower is at least an intriguing idea. He had the best season of his career, but the Tigers surprisingly ended up declining their option for this year, so he will test free agency and could have plenty of suitors knocking on his door.
Between the Houston Astros and the Tigers, Veras had a 3.02 ERA with good strikeout numbers (8.6 K/9) and an average walk rate (3.2 BB/9), but the stat that surprised the most is his incredible 41.8 percent ground ball rate. Due to the good defense of the Cubs’ infield, a ground ball pitcher would thrive playing for this team. But due to his solid year, his price may skyrocket. He’s one of the most solid relievers on the market, and there are several teams that need help in the pen.
The Cubs could try to land him but if they decided to do it, they might need to overpay a bit for his services. It’s safe to say that if he’s able to repeat his 2013 success, he might end up being a bargain.