With teams beginning to make decisions for the 2014 season, we take a look at those available players that could fit the Dodgers’ needs.
Today we look at a reliever with power stuff that could earn a spot in the bullpen next season:
Veras is a 33-year-old right-handed relief pitcher that spent last season split with the Houston Astros and the Detroit Tigers. In his major league career, Veras has a 3.84 ERA in eight seasons with seven teams. The Tigers declined his 2014 option that allowed him to become a free agent.
The right-hander had an overall ERA of 3.02 with 21 saves in 67 appearances with the Astros and Tigers. He began the year as the Astros primary closer and had 19 saves with a 2.93 ERA in 42 games before being traded to the Tigers for a minor league player and a player to be named later. With the Tigers, Veras assumed a bullpen role and had a 3.20 ERA in 25 games.
Veras is a power pitcher that relies on a fastball and a hard slider. Veras regularly tops 93 mph and can reach up to 96 at times. Velocity has become a commodity in bullpens around baseball and finding an established reliever who throws hard is difficult to find. The 33-year-old averages almost a strikeout per inning as a result of his velocity.
Despite being a power pitcher, Veras limited his walks last season to just 22 in 62.2 innings. He’s harnessed his speed and has become an effective pitcher because of it. The Dodgers could use an arm like him in the bullpen as a bridge from the starter to the closer.
In the last four seasons, Veras has kept his ERA under 4.00 with his highest being 3.80 in 2011 with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He’s improved his ERA the last three seasons and seems to be getting better with age.
Although he is coming off his best season, Veras is 33 years old and relievers can become different pitchers from one year to the next. He could return to his old form in which his ERA was higher and he issued more walks. Relievers have a tough time replicating good seasons and Veras could become a victim to that.
Veras has been to the postseason two times in his eight seasons, but until last season hadn’t been since 2007. With the Tigers in the postseason, Veras struggled and with a 5.40 ERA. In five ALCS appearances he gave up two runs and three hits in 3.1 innings. With the Dodgers primed to reach the postseason, they can’t afford to have a reliever that will falter under pressure.
Last season, Veras signed a one-year, $2 million dollar deal and his 2014 option would’ve been worth $3.25 million. He can command a 1-3 year deal averaging $2-3 million dollars a season. Relievers that aren’t closers don’t usually receive multi-year deals, especially one that is 33 years old. Teams may decide to give Veras a one-year deal with a base salary that is full of incentives, as a protection against a bad season.
Chances Dodgers Sign Him: 40%
With the potential departures of Brian Wilson, Carlos Marmol and Edinson Volquez, the Dodgers could have a need for a right-handed power arm in the bullpen. It’s unclear whether the Tigers have plans of bringing back Veras and he’s one of the top relievers available.
The Dodgers may decide to stick with youth, as they did last season with the promotions of Chris Withrow and Jose Dominguez and leave Veras to find work elsewhere. On the other side, the Dodgers may decide to stockpile arms on the roster in case of injuries.
Either way, it is very possible that Veras could call Chavez Ravine his home next season.
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