The Rays already signed one former New York Yankee reliever today and could be on their way to signing another. Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes is reporting the team has an outstanding minor league contract offer out to free agent Jose Veras. The Rays are one of several teams interested Veras, but this would not be the first time the team inked the Dominican Republican native.
Veras first entered professional baseball as an amateur free agent in 1998. Back then, the Rays signed the 17-year-old and watched as he reached the upper bounds of the minors. He never made an appearance for the big league team and would eventually leave as a minor league free agent. Years later, Veras appeared in his first major league game with the Yankees and has since appeared with the Indians and, most recently, the Marlins.
As they are wont to do, the Marlins squeezed the very best out of Veras in nearly 50 innings of work (3.75 ERA, 4.06 FIP) rivaling only his 2008 season (57 innings of 3.59 ERA and 4.19 FIP ball) for career best distinction. All told, Veras has more than 175 innings of major league experience, with a 4.24 ERA and 4.65 FIP to show for it. The main culprit for the high FIP is his control which has the tendency to go haywire: Veras has walked 13% of the batters he’s faced in the majors, a rate nearly equal to Seth McClung’s rate with the Rays. Interestingly, despite the high walk rates and a league average home run per flyball rate, Veras’ career slash lines against righties (.224/.315/.374) and lefties (.206/.343/.371) are acceptable.
At six-six and with a mid-90s fastball, Veras certainly looks like a late-inning reliever. His fastball is not the pitch that Veras does the most damage with, though, as it actually garners whiff rates less than league average. Instead, his secondary offerings, a high-70s curve and a mid-80s splitter, do the real damage – with the splitter in particular exceeding league average rates.