Analysis

Free Agent Pass or Play: Jose Veras

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Don’t let Victorino’s homer taint your perception: Veras was above-average in 2013.

Each day until free agency begins, we at Phillies Nation will take a look at a player who will become a free agent five days from the conclusion of the World Series. We will explore potential performance, fit, cost, and feasibility. We continue today with right-handed reliever Jose Veras. And a reminder: you can check out all the “Pass or Play” posts by clicking on the category hyperlink.

Performance

Veras, 33, had a career year last season between Houston and Detroit, posting career lows in ERA, WHIP, and BB/9 IP. Veras started the year as Houston’s closer before Detroit added Veras at the trade deadline. Veras has held hitters to a career .216 BAA but has struggled with walks – his OBP is over 100 points higher than his BAA. While his batting average against is very similar when comparing his splits, he is more likely to walk a lefty (.335 OBPa v. .306 against righties) and give up extra base hits to lefties (.373 v. .336 against righties).  That said, Veras was practically unhittable against righties last season (.164/.252/.264 against in 123 PA) and will be a hot commodity because of that.

Fit

The Phillies’ bullpen was ranked 14th out of 15th in ERA, FIP, and xFIP in the National League last season and there are not a ton of promising bullpen arms that the Phillies haven’t yet seen in the Majors. One such player, Kenny Giles, is struggling in the Arizona Fall League. Veras is definitely a fit.

Cost

Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors reported Veras’ availability today after the Tigers bought out his contract for $150 K, declining a $3.25 million team option. Veras pitched really well in 2013 but, as Adams pointed out, was the pitcher that came in with the bases loaded and allowed Shane Victorino to hit his ALCS grand slam. Steamer projections have Veras having a season comparable to his 2011 with the Pirates (3.76 ERA projected) for about 0.3 fWAR. That tally would make him worth about $1.5 to $2 million per year on the open market.

Feasibility

After saving 21 games in 2013, I would bet Ruben Amaro sees Veras and thinks “veteran track record”. With the cost not being prohibitive and the roster need there, I think Amaro could make a play for Veras.

Verdict: Play, Play, Play

Another potential bargain, Veras is a veteran, league-average reliever which is sadly, and surprisingly, an upgrade for the Phillies. I would put Veras in a class with Chris Young and Dioner Navarro in terms of my favorite value plays this free agency if he can be signed for between $1.5 and $2.5 million a year for no more than two years.

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Evan Watson

    November 1, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    Can we all just admit the Phillies coaching staff is in total anarchy? No wonder we’re declining.

    • schmenkman

      November 1, 2013 at 8:49 pm

      I think the coaching staff has very very little to do with how well the team does, if it were “in total anarchy”.

      • wbramh

        November 2, 2013 at 1:23 am

        You’ll change your tune when MiniMart suddenly appears on the mound as opening day pitche to the total silence of Ryno.

  2. bacardipr

    November 1, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    Yes looks like a play. They need another arm out there. Too many holes and too many question marks. They need to bring in at the minimum one arm for the bullpen. I like the improvements with Diekman. Theres way too many ifs though they need a guy like this.

  3. pread71

    November 1, 2013 at 11:20 pm

    play… even in a relief or set up role

  4. wbramh

    November 2, 2013 at 1:41 am

    A reluctant yes on Veras.
    It’s just a sad day when we look forward to rising up to mediocre.

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