Monday, January 17, 2011

Jose Veras A Bucco

MLB Trade Rumors Zach Links announced that "The Pirates have agreed to sign Jose Veras to a minor league deal, according to Enrique Rojas of The reliever will earn a base of $1MM plus incentives if he makes the big league roster, Rojas tweets. Otherwise, the veteran will make $15K each month in the minors."

Sounds like a pretty good deal to shore up the pen by the FO.

Veras is a 6'5", 235 pound power pitcher with some experience. The 30 year old Dominican has pitched for the Yankees, Indians, and Marlins, with a career slash of 12-9-3/4.24. He's struck out 170 in 176-1/3 IP, and walked 98, which is no doubt the reason Pittsburgh ended up with him.

The righty was signed by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 1998. He rose through the Tampa Bay minor league system, mostly as a starter. Veras struggled when he reached AAA, and was converted to a relief pitcher.

He was released following the 2004 season, after getting bombed as much from the pen as when he started. In 2005, he toiled for the Texas Rangers' AAA affiliate at Oklahoma, and began his turnaround, going 5-3 with 24 saves and a 3.79 ERA while striking out 68 in 60-1/3 innings.

Veras signed with the Yankees before the 2006 season, which he spent mostly at AAA Columbus, though he also made his major league debut, pitching 11 innings with a 4.09 ERA. Veras was injured early in 2007, but rehabbed and returned to the major leagues as a September call up.

In 2008, he blossomed and became the set-up man after the Yankees traded Kyle Farnsworth, going 5-3 with a 3.59 ERA and averaging 9.8K/9 innings.

But reality bit in 2009; he gave up almost 5 walks and 2 homers per 9 innings in his first 25 appearances. Veras was DFA'ed by the Yankees on June 16th, and was purchased a week later by the Tribe.

The Indians had him up for a couple of stints in between a trip to AAA, and his line improved except for his walk rate, which hit 5.1/9 innings.

He was non-tendered by the Indians after the season, and signed a minor league contract with the Florida Marlins with an invite to spring training. Veras made the roster, but lasted just a few days before he was sent down for current Bucco hopeful Chris Leroux.

Veras was called up on June 25th and finished the year with the big club, posting a 3-3 record with a 3.75 ERA. This was his first arb year, and the Fish let him go rather than risk a big arb hit. So now he's in Pittsburgh, and given the state of the bullpen, has a fair shot at breaking camp with the Buccos.

Veras throws three-quarters, almost sidearm, and has a four-seamer that can touch 98 and sits in the the 93-96 range. His other pitch is a sharp slider thrown in the low 80's.

His peripherals are all over the board. His career K's average 8.7/9 innings, and hits at 7.1/9 innings (.220 OBA), both great marks. His HR's are OK at 1.1/9 innings, but his walks, at 5.0/9 innings are a huge problem and drive his WHIP up to 1.350. Veras isn't much of a ground ball guy; his average balls in play show just 39% hit in the dirt.

Make no mistake; Veras is a legit MLB talent and has the stuff to be a back ender in the bullpen if he can find the dish with some regularity. The Pirates may have overpaid, but they get a guy with two more years of team control and one that they had to outbid the San Francisco Giants, Colorado Rockies, Minnesota Twins, Florida Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays to land.

So the rebuilding for 2011 continues...anyone have a top-end starting pitcher or shortstop they're looking to get rid of in the next six weeks?

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