Per reports, the team completed a deal to sign former Detroit Tigers closer Jose Veras on a one-year, $4 million deal that includes incentives and a $5.5 million option for the 2015 year. Veras is a solid reliever that had a good year last season pitching for both the Houston Astros and the Tigers down the stretch. Due to his previous experience as a closer, he will likely be in the mix to gain the closer, and he can provide an insurance policy in a late-inning role in the worst case.
The 33 year old posted good numbers last season (a 3.02 ERA, a 8.6 K/9 rate and a 41.8 percent ground-ball rate). Due to the good infield defense the Cubs have with players like Darwin Barney and Anthony Rizzo, the fact that he is able to induce weak contact should bode well for him to succeed at Wrigley Field.
Veras has experience in the postseason and in rebuilding teams, so he is a very good fit for the organization. He could either be flipped for prospects if things go south at the trade deadline, be a key piece, or even remain with the team after his deal expires if he pitches well.
At $4 million per year, he will likely be the closer, and he’s an experienced player to fill the void left by Kevin Gregg. Additionally, he will give the bullpen some much needed stability. By all accounts, Veras’ arrival is a great signing for the Cubs.