David Paulino goes to Houston as PTBNL to finish trade for Jose Veras
DETROIT — When does 19 plus 19 equal 32? Only in the trade season.
The Tigers completed the trade for Jose Veras on Friday, sending hard-throwing 19-year-old David Paulino to the Astros as the player to be named later in the deal.
Danry Vasquez, a 19-year-old Class A outfielder, went the Astros in July, hitting .288 after the trade sent him from West Michigan to Houston’s Quad Cities affiliate.
In return, the Tigers got a solid veteran presence in their bullpen, a guy who — after closing for most of the season with the youngster-laden Astros — could easily inherit the set-up job with Detroit, and close in a pinch, if Joaquin Benoit needed a break.
In that case, at least in the short term, 19 plus 19 doesn’t even come close to equalling the value of the 32-year-old Veras.
“Well, he’s done well. He’s a veteran presence for us. He doesn’t get too excited. I think that’s been beneficial to us. We didn’t have too much experience down there, as you know. So, I think that’s been a big help,” manager Jim Leyland said of the trade acquisition.
“And he’s done a very good job.”
The Tigers spent much of the season with guys like Drew Smyly (24), Al Alburquerque (27), Brayan Villarreal (26), Bruce Rondon (22), Jose Ortega (24), Evan Reed (27) and Luke Putkonen (27) making up a large part of the Tigers’ bullpen core.
Adding a guy like Veras to the existing veteran core of Benoit and Phil Coke helps add a bit of calm to a relief corps that didn’t always maintain its composure when things went wrong earlier in the season.
In his 18 appearances for the Tigers, heading into the weekend, he’d given up multiple runs just once — on Aug. 31 — when Carlos Santana’s inside-the-park home run scored two, bringing the Indians back within one run. Austin Jackson slammed into the wall on the play, and initially thought he dislocated his shoulder.
The whole scenario could’ve rattled a younger player, but Veras merely got a pair of fly-ball outs to end the inning.
“One thing I like about him last night, is ... if that happens to some young guy, they panic, and further damage,” Leyland said the next day.
Another bonus: Veras is extraordinarily inexpensive.
He came to the Tigers on a one-year, $2 million contract, but there’s a team option for $3.25 million for 2014 (with a $150,000 buyout). That could give the Tigers a decent (and cheap) backup plan, should they be unable to re-sign Benoit this coming offseason.
Down the road is the only place the trade could be costly, by giving up a pair of high-upside prospects.
The younger brother of Class A prospect Brenny Paulino (a top-10 prospect before shoulder surgery last year), David Paulino has pitched just 39 innings over three minor league seasons for the Tigers Dominican Summer League affiliate (2011) and the Gulf Coast Tigers rookie league squad. A power arm who underwent Tommy John surgery in July, Paulino posted a 22-2 strikeout-to-walk ratio this season.