Cubs Sign Closer Veras

By Paul Sullivan, Tribune reporter6:34 p.m. CST, December 17, 2013

The Cubs came to an agreement with former Astros closer Jose Veras on a one-year, $4 million deal Tuesday, a major league source said.

Veras’ deal is for $3.85 million plus a $150,000 buyout clause, and includes a $5.5 million option for 2015. He’ll also have a chance to earned player bonuses worth $750,000 based on significant games finished.

The signing fits into President Theo Epstein’s offseason game plan. Lacking “financial flexibility,” the Cubs have passed on expensive free agents with multi-year contracts and waited for the more affordable one-year signings like Veras and Wesley Wright.

Veras, 33, was 0-5 with a 3.02 ERA for the Astros and Tigers last season, compiling 19 saves for the Astros before being used primarily as a middle reliever for the Tigers during their stretch run. He began his career with the Yankees in 2006 and is 19-22 with a 3.84 ERA over his career, playing for seven teams.

Veras, who must pass a physical, is the likely closer for the Cubs, which would mean Pedro Strop would continue to be used as the primary setup man. He’s the second reliever signed by the Cubs in the past two days, after Wright agreed to a one-year, $1.425 million deal.

Overall, the Cubs have added only $6.5 million in guaranteed money this offseason on Veras, Wright and backup catcher George Kottaras, who was acquired from the Royals. They also acquired outfielder Justin Ruggiano from the Marlins for Brian Bogusevic.

The Cubs continue to monitor the Masahiro Tanaka situation, waiting to see if the Japanese pitching phenom will be posted for major league teams to bid on.

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