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A sometimes-irreverent look at Detroit's Boys of Summer, the Tigers, as they try to return to the top of the American League Central.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Tigers trade for Astros closer Jose Veras to add to young bullpen

DETROIT — The Tigers got their bullpen help, trading for Houston Astros closer Jose Veras on Monday, giving up 19-year-old minor league prospect Danry Vasquez in exchange.

There is also a player to be named later in the deal.

“We are pleased to add an experienced arm to our bullpen,” said Tigers president and GM Dave Dombrowski. “Jose can pitch in a variety of roles, provides depth in the bullpen, and complements the roles of Joaquin Benoit and Drew Smyly.”

Less than a day after saying it was a seller’s market, with very few teams thinking they were out of the running before the trade deadline, thus driving prices up, Dombrowski paid what appears to be a relatively steep — but fair — price to get the bullpen help the team has needed.

He also said at the time that he was willing to stand pat, if nothing materialized.

“Yes. Sure. It’s always a focus on what you don’t have. We’ve got a lot of good things and there’s some guys that throw well. There’s some inconsistencies with some of the guys, but they’re very talented. We’ll see what happens. I’m not ready to make any proclamations at this point. We’ll see what happens,” Dombrowski said Sunday.

“We’ll see. This is a very unusual situation. It’s a lot different. There’s very few clubs that don’t think they’re in position to be able to get a playoff spot — at least a second wild card spot. And that leads to very few clubs that are willing to make moves. And a lot of clubs that want to make some type of addition.”

It did take a little bit to pry away Veras, in a market where a ton of teams were looking for relief help.

Vasquez was considered among the best players in a depleted Detroit farm system, ranked the No. 4 overall prospect by this season. One of the signings out of the Tigers’ Venezuelan pipeline, Vasquez was hitting .281 with 26 extra-base hits and 39 RBI and at West Michigan this season.

Veras, a 32-year-old journeyman who is on his sixth team in five seasons, is 0-for-4 with a 2.93 ERA in 42 appearances with the Astros this season, recording 19 saves. He hasn’t allowed an earned run yet in July, and has an ERA of 0.95 since the start of June.

He’s limiting right-handed batters to a .160 average this season.

According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, Joaquin Benoit will remain the Tigers’ closer, with Veras slotting in as the set-up man.

“We feel very comfortable in the ninth and eighth innings with Benoit and (Drew) Smyly. I don’t know where you’re really going to go out and improve that significantly. We’re very young in our bullpen. We’re talented, but we’re young — that’s where I’d leave it at this point,” Dombrowski said Sunday.

“Some days they’re very, and some days they’re not quite as good. That’s what happens when you’re young at times. But that doesn’t mean they can’t contribute. That’s what you look at.”


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