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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Cubs sign closer Jose Veras to one-year deal

By on 12/17/2013 07:32:00 PM

The Chicago Cubs may have found a closer. Numerous sources reported early Tuesday evening that the Cubs have signed free agent reliever Jose Veras to a one-year $4-million contract with a club option for 2015 (pending a physical). Among the sources is MLB Network's Tuesday night broadcast of MLB Tonight. Two others include Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes and's Astros beat writer Brian McTaggart, both of whom tweeted the news early Tuesday evening.
The Cubs have looked for a steady closer since Carlos Marmol faltered in late 2011. They tried Marmol again in 2012, and even though he showed some signs of success in the second half, he faltered again in 2013 and later got demoted and then traded. The Cubs signed Japanese pitcher Kyuji Fujikawa, but Tommy John surgery ended his season in late May, and he may not return until the second half of 2014. Kevin Gregg took his turn. He was very good for most of the season but showed signs of wear near the end. Gregg is also a free agent, and the Cubs never did expect to re-sign him.

CBS's #46 free agent pitcher, Veras saved 19 games in 22 chances for Houston in 2013 before getting traded to Detroit for the stretch run. Overall for the season, he was 0-5 with a 3.02 ERA, 21 saves, and 1.069 WHIP. He became a setup man in Detroit for Joaquin Benoit. This past season was his first chance to close, and CBS's Jon Heyman says that Veras will be the Cubs' closer.
Veras has not only pitched well in his eight years, but he has stayed very healthy since 2007. That year, he missed almost the entire season because of surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow. Since then, he has missed seven total games with minor ailments and only one in 2013 because a bruised finger. His durability could give him many chances to prove that he can be a true Major League closer. With basically no competition for the job in Chicago, he will get those chances.

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