Last week, the Chicago Cubs semi-surprisingly designated reliever Jose Veras for assignment after signing him to a $4 million deal in the offseason. He struggled immediately with command problems, hit the DL with an oblique issue, came back and was kind of OK in low leverage spots, but the writing was on the wall. With a young relief core emerging and no realistic chance that Veras was going to develop meaningful trade value by July, the Cubs DFA’d Veras when they needed a roster spot.
The DFA comes with three possible paths: waivers, trade, or release. Given Veras’s situation, it’s no surprise that the Cubs wound up taking the release path today (possibly after Veras went unclaimed on waivers).
Veras is now free to sign with any team, and that team will be on the hook only for the pro-rated portion of the Major League minimum (or for their share of a minor league deal, if that’s what Veras winds up taking). The Cubs will otherwise pay the balance of the $4 million that was owed to Veras this year.
It’s funny now to look back on that signing – which was the Cubs’ marquee move in an extraordinarily quiet offseason – and how well-received it was. Not just around here, I mean; it was among the more well-liked relief signings all Winter, in large part because of the low risk. That’s little consolation, but at least the Cubs didn’t make an even bigger mistake.
All in all, the deal proved to be a bad move for the front office. Cutting bait now salves some of that, I suppose.
As for Veras, he’ll latch on somewhere, and I doubt his career is over. Indeed, he very well might have some good innings ahead of him. Relievers are just a fickle bunch, man. And for the Cubs, in the present, he just didn’t have it.