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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.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Tigers decline option on Jose Veras' contract, lose Tuiasosopo, Downs to waiver claims

The Detroit Tigers’ bullpen makeover is underway.

Friday, the team announced it was declining the $3.25 million club option on the contract of Jose Veras, their trade deadline acquisition.

Veras was considered one of the sure things for the wide-open 2014 bullpen at the time the Tigers traded for him, given the affordable nature of the option year. It’ll cost $150,000 for them to buy him out of the option year. [UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported Saturday that the option was $4M, thanks to an escalator clause that tripped when he passed 45 games finished.]
Darin Downs, also won’t be a part of the 2014 relief corps, as the Houston Astros announced Friday they’d claimed the lefty reliever off waivers from the Tigers.

Matt Tuiasosopo was claimed off waivers by the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Tigers announced. In a procedural move, Danny Worth was removed from the 60-day disabled list.

Considering what they gave up to get him, the Veras move was a surprise. The Tigers traded promising minor leaguers Danry Vasquez and David Paulino to get the Astros’ closer, using him as their primary set-up man.

The return on that investment? An 0-1 record, two saves and a 3.20 ERA in 19 2/3 regular-season innings, and a 3.60 ERA in six postseason appearances.

Veras appeared in just one of the Tigers' five postseason wins. Appeared in five of six losses, including Games 2 and 6 of the American League Championship Series, when the Tigers gave up the two crushing grand slams. He’ll probably be remembered most for giving up the dagger of a grand slam to Shane Victorino in Game 6 of the ALCS, but he also gave up the one-out eighth-inning double to the No. 9 hitter, Will Middlebrooks, that eventually set up David Ortiz’s game-tying grand slam in Game 2.

Closer Joaquin Benoit is a free agent, as is veteran Octavio Dotel, while Phil Coke could possibly be a non-tender candidate.

The other two moves weren’t as shocking as the first.

Tuiasosopo hit .329 with six homers and 22 RBI in the ifrst half off the season, before falling off the map in the second half, hitting just .152 and striking out 32 times in 23 starts. He finished with a .244 average, seven homers and 30 RBI on the season, and was left off the playoff roster.

A 28-year-old with a tremendous story of professional perseverance, Downs pitched in 29 games with the Tigers this season, after making his big-league debut in 2012. He has a career ERA of 4.34 in 56 innings pitched, and made a number of trips up and down from Triple-A Toledo. Born in Southfield and originally selected in the 2003 amateur draft, the Tigers signed Downs as a minor-league free agent in November 2011.

He was not on the playoff roster in either of his two seasons with the Tigers.


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