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The Astros intend to use Jose Veras as their closer

Dec 21, 2012, 8:01 PM EDT

Jose Veras Getty Getty Images

There wasn’t anything interesting on the surface about the Astros signing Jose Veras to a one-year, $2 million deal earlier this week, but Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports hears that the club intends to use him as their closer next season. In fact, they have included incentives in his contract with that very role in mind.

Veras will have the opportunity to earn an additional $500,000 next season based on games finished. His contract includes a $3.25 million option for 2014 or a $150,000 buyout, but the price of the option can increase to between $4 million and $5.5 million based on games finished. If exercised, he could also make an additional $500,000 with incentives.

Veras has a 4.01 ERA over eight seasons in the majors and only has five career saves to his name, but he throws in the mid-90s with his heater and can make hitters look silly with his curveball at times. Of course, the 32-year-old has averaged 4.9 BB/9 during his career, so he doesn’t always know where it is going. The rebuilding Astros might not offer a ton of save chances next season, but they can afford to experiment in the ninth inning. If Veras emerges as a solid closer, they could have a nice trade chip on their hands.

  1. thekingdave - Dec 21, 2012 at 8:41 PM

    Luhnow sure loves inflating the trade value of mediocre pitchers by making them closers

  2. brewcrewfan54 - Dec 21, 2012 at 11:12 PM

    Good thing they wont have a lot of save situations because this guy has no idea how to throw a strike on a consistent basis.

  3. pisano - Dec 22, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    brewcrew… exactly why the Yankees got rid of him a few years ago, threw BB’s but in big situations he walks people and gets in trouble, but a big arm.

    • brewcrewfan54 - Dec 22, 2012 at 3:23 PM

      Agreed. I had high hopes when the Crew got him last year but he was a nightmare to watch. Like you said, big arm, lots of ability but no consistency. When he came in I was always scared the lead was about to be gone an many times it was.

  4. stex52 - Dec 22, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    Closing starts with getting the ball over the plate. Otherwise, it doesn’t matter how good your stuff is. MLB players will wait you out. Ask Brad Lidge how it went on and off after batters realized that killer slider was actually a ball if you didn’t swing at it.

  5. jkaflagg - Dec 22, 2012 at 6:10 PM

    I’m guessing that some of the Astros young pitchers might get a shot at closing, with Veras as the backup plan if none of them pan out; and if Veras has success, may be a trade chip (although closer Bret Myers brought back almost nothing last year). With a few more years of rebuilding ahead of them, they can afford to experiment a bit……

  6. jeffa43 - Dec 22, 2012 at 10:33 PM

    I’m not going to worry about the brakes, until we put a engine in the car.

    Go Stros, Merry Christmas.

  7. texasaaa - Dec 25, 2012 at 4:42 AM

    I’m so tired of everything being a trade chip. Anyone showing promise
    On the Stros is either sold for a profit for the investors or traded for something worse.
    If I want to see double A ball ill just go see the San Antonio Missions.
    No way I would buy a ticket this year unless Berkman came back and that would just be for the nostalgia.

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