The Detroit Tigers wouldn't let a trade deadline pass without getting involved in some way. Monday, they added Jose Veras from the Houston Astros, in exchange for minor league outfielder Danry Vasquez and a player to be named later. Here are early reactions from around the baseball commentorati.
While he isn’t a big name, Veras has quietly turned into a very effective reliever. In 43 innings this year, opposing batters have a .265 wOBA against him. For comparison, hitters have a .266 wOBA against Yu Darvish, a .269 wOBA against Stephen Strasburg, a .270 wOBA against Adam Wainwright, and a .274 wOBA against Felix Hernandez. Sure, it’s easier to pitch in relief, so this isn’t exactly apples to apples, but it at least gives you an idea of the level that Veras has pitched at.
Cameron then provides a chart showing that Veras has been as effective as Jonathan Papelbon over the past 365 days, using several categories for comparison.
Vasquez is a top five prospect in the Tiger organization, despite his young age and level at Low-A West Michigan.
Dave Dombrowski announced the trade:
"We are pleased to add an experienced arm to our bullpen," Tigers' president, CEO, and GM Dave Dombrowski said in a statement. "Jose can pitch in a variety of roles, provides depth in the bullpen, and complements the roles of Joaquin Benoit and Drew Smyly."
Lynn Henning of the Detroit News suggests that Veras might eventually wind up getting saves in Detroit
Tigers are being respectful to Benoit, their (at least temporary) answer as closer. But he's 36. Roles can change. Veras is less fragile.— Lynn G. Henning (@Lynn_Henning) July 29, 2013
Veras has a contract that pays him $1.85 million this year, with a club option for a reasonable $3.25 million next year. Benoit is a free agent after this season.
Henning also noted that Dave Dombrowski continues to get value by trading prospects, despite the low farm system ratings.
Another example of how pooh-poohing Tigers farm chain rarely acknowledges their broader story. Other teams like their prospects.— Lynn G. Henning (@Lynn_Henning) July 29, 2013
Bob Nightengale likes the move for the Tigers.
Danny Knobler at CBS sports says that the Astros have high praise for Veras.
Astros pitching coach Doug Brocail had high praise for Veras: "He's a pro's pro." Loved the way he helped their young pitchers, too.— Danny Knobler (@DannyKnoblerCBS) July 29, 2013
Paul Wezner has a complete analysis at Tigstown.
Veras is an ideal fit for the Tigers short-term needs; an affordable contract for a pitcher who has been very effective closing this season in Houston, and has been a very good setup man in the past.
The Tigers definitely paid a high price though, giving up Vasquez, plus another player that will be named by mid-September...
Given his youth and the organizational strength at the position with players like Nick Castellanos, Avisail Garcia, Steven Moya, Daniel Fields and Tyler Collins, it’s a position of wealth, arguably the only one right now, and a player far enough away from contributing that he was ultimately expendable.
MLB Trade Rumors' Tim Dierkes mentions that Tigers manager Jim Leyland plans to keep Benoit as the Tigers' closer. For now.
Leyland: "Benoit is my closer, period." Maybe Veras will close if Benoit has gone two in a row, surmises Knobler. http://t.co/19aUsCZoX1— Tim Dierkes (@closernews) July 29, 2013
Matthew B Mowery of the Oakland Press points out that Benoit and Veras have about equal experience as closers.
Mowery also speculates which pitcher might be the one to go to make room for Veras
@MattinToledo Well, 'keep' in the sense that they don't leave the system. One still has to go to Toledo. Betting that's LuPu— Matthew B. Mowery (@matthewbmowery) July 29, 2013
And he also reminds us of what Dombrowski said on Sunday about the 8th and 9th innings.
DD said Sun: "We feel very comfortable in 9th and 8th innings," w/ Benoit, Smyly. Figure Veras splits set-up duties: http://t.co/36nIljDvcA— Matthew B. Mowery (@matthewbmowery) July 29, 2013
Oakland Press columnist and sports radio commenter Pat Caputo says that Veras is a perfect fit for Tigers, at a steep price.
Chris Iott at MLive has the scoop and the particulars on the trade, which he has kept updated. Chris adds that the Tigers are certain to pick up the option on Veras, and that the PTBNL must be named by September 15th.
James Schmehl tweets about the roles.
Joaquin Benoit will reportedly remain #Tigers closer. Jose Veras will fill setup role.— James Schmehl (@jamesschmehl) July 29, 2013
Fox Sports Detroit's Dave Hogg tweeted that Vasquez is a long way off from the show.
Vasquez is a good LF prospect, but he's 19 and still learning at West Michigan. This is a kid who wasn't going to hit the majors until 2016.— Dave Hogg (@Stareagle) July 29, 2013
Tigers Prospect Report had Vasquez in the top three overall.
Tigers Tales' (and sabermetrician) blogger Lee Panas is cautiously optimistic.
I'm Lukewarm on Jose Veras. Has history of control problems, but has been good this year. Not exciting, but I trust him more than rookies.— tiger337 (@tiger337) July 29, 2013
And Kurt Mensching was busy making sure that the BYB world was up to date.
Now I can finally get that cup of coffee— Bless You Boys (@blessyouboys) July 29, 2013
Meanwhile, ESPN is obsessed with how long A-Rod will be suspended.