Tigers acquire Veras from Astros

BY foxsports • July 29, 2013

Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski makes his first move of trade-deadline season.

Now Tigers fans will have to wait to see if it's his last.

The Tigers acquired veteran reliever Jose Veras from the Astros on Monday in exchange for minor-league outfielder Danry Vasquez and a player to be named later.

Veras, 32, has been serving as Houston's closer this season, picking up 19 saves in 42 games. He has a 2.93 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 43 innings this. He's allowed 29 hits and 14 walks.

"We are pleased to add an experienced arm to our bullpen," 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."

Like Benoit, Veras was closing for the first time this year. He's worked as a set-up man with the Yankees, Indians, Marlins, Pirates and Brewers.

Veras has struggled with control for much of his career, but has solved that with a sinker he started using last season and now uses as his No. 1 pitch. He also has a good curveball and a splitter, giving him pitches he can throw anywhere from the mid-70s to mid-90s.

Veras and Smyly give the Tigers two relievers they can trust to bridge the gap between their starters and Benoit in the ninth. Veras is also inexpensive --$1.85 million this season and a 2014 option for $3.25 million.

To get Veras, the Tigers had to give up Venezuelan outfield prospect Vasquez, who's in his second year of Single-A with West Michigan. At just 19, he's hitting .281 with some power and speed.

Vasquez is still very raw -- he signed with Detroit at 16 -- but is expected to add some home-run power as he fills out and has shown a nice arm in left field. Although considered one of the Tigers' best prospects, he's probably at least three years away from having an impact in the major leagues.

Which makes this is a definite win-now move and perfect sense for the Tigers. Jim Leyland now has three strong relievers in Veras, Smyly and Benoit, giving Leyland more options. He can reserve Bruce Rondon, Phil Coke and Al Alburquerque for short outings, where they can pitch to their strengths.

The situation gets even better if Octavio Dotel returns from an elbow injury that's cost him most of the season.

Is Dombrowski done? That might depend on the Biogenesis situation.

He'll certainly be making and taking phone calls right up until Wednesday's deadline, especially if the Tigers think Jhonny Peralta faces a suspension this season.

But Dombrowski's already achieved his top priority -- that veteran presence in the bullpen.

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