Obviously, the Astros didn’t value Jose Veras as much as we may have thought.
Veras, who served as Houston’s closer for the first half of last season, signed a one-year deal with the Cubs Tuesday. One year. $4 million. The deal includes a 2015 option for $5.5 million or a $150,000 buyout. A pretty sweet deal, once again setting up Veras for the possibility of a trade next July.
With rumors abounding of a “mutual interest” between the Astros and Veras, it’s almost shocking that Jeff Luhnow didn’t reel in Veras considering the ultimate contract.
Given his contributions last season and his expressed desire to play in Houston, putting together a two-year deal for the probable closer would seem to have been a no brainer? No? And considering his one-year deal with an option and the recent Chad Qualls signing at 2/$6 million, a two-year deal for Veras wouldn’t be a stretch. Would it?
How, you ask, did the Astros let Veras get away? Or, maybe a better question is: Did they let him get away? Should the Chad Qualls and Matt Albers signings have been an indication the Astros had moved on? Or were they never really as interested in a reunion as Veras might have been?
Enter former Houston Cougar Jesse Crain, who’s younger and whose numbers and consistency are actually better than Veras. But, like Veras at the beginning of 2013, Crain has never been a closer.
Won’t get into a number-by-number comparison here, you can do that. Crain may be better. And, with 39 spots on the 40-man roster presently filled, the roster limits may have played a role as well. Houston is still apparently searching for a first baseman, so the roster may be due some shuffling soon. Trade? DFA? Outright?
Either way, add Veras to the growing list of players the Astros might have wanted, but couldn’t get a deal done.
Stay tuned. Luhnow is likely far from finished. But the heavy lifting and tough decisions may be waiting around the next corner.
- Do you think the Astros were ever really interested in Veras?
- Who would you rather have closing games in 2014: Veras, Crain, Albers, Qualls, Rollie Fingers?
- Will Luhnow make a big splash (trade, free agent signing) between now and spring training?
- Is it possible that Houston could find another Billy Wagner or Brad Lidge among their leading prospects? If so, which one is most likely to fill those shoes?