The Detroit Tigers finally added that bullpen arm they’d been seeking on Monday morning, agreeing to a deal with the Houston Astros to obtain closer Jose Veras.
Veras, 32, has been outstanding for Houston this season, his first as a closer, largely because he has cut his walk rate down to 2.9 per nine innings. At no point previously in his eight-year career had Veras walked fewer than four batters per nine innings. He’s done this while maintaining a strikeout rate of better than a batter per inning.
The Tigers give up 19-year-old outfielder prospect Danry Vasquez, currently hitting .281/.333/.390 at Class-A West Michigan. It was Vasquez’s second season with the WhiteCaps. Though Vasquez is several years away, the Venezualan has all the tools and could potentially grow into an above average hitter with good pop his his bat. Houston will also get a player to be named later in this deal.
Though Veras has had success working in the ninth inning this year, don’t expect that he’ll assume that role in Motown. Right hander Joaquin Benoit has been outstanding since being given the closing duties and the back-end of Detroit’s bullpen has been not only stable, but effective. Veras could unseat rookie Bruce Rondon as the primary right handed set-up man for Detroit, or he could slide into a role in middle relief.
Veras was signed to a one-year, $2 million contract by Houston in the off-season which includes a $3.25 million club option for 2014.