Dave Dombrowski, the general manager of the Detroit Tigers, found a good reliever in terms of value in Jose Veras
, who they acquired from the Astros today for outfield prospect Danry Vasquez
and a player to be named later.
Veras, a right-handed set-up man, will fit nicely into the Tigers back-end of the bullpen as a compliment to the left-handed Drew Smyly in front of closer Joaquin Benoit. A look at the numbers will show that while Veras is not the dominate bullpen piece that would be worth another +0.5 WAR the rest of the season, the Tigers get a quality relief pitcher without having to take on a big contract, and thanks to a $3.25 million team option for 2014, they actually can keep him for next season, which should limit their need to overspend on a reliever in free agency or a trade this winter.
Veras has always pitched a little better against RHB’s than LHB’s over the course of his career; the 14.5% walk rate against LHB’s in his career is a little bit concerning. He hasn’t been as wild this year, but his K% against LHB’s has also been way below his career average as well. This could mean a slight improvement in his BABIP while in a Tigers uniform because the more balls in play that he allows vs. LHB’s will be better defended with Detroit’s much better infield defense and spacious outfield.
Since Veras’ nor Smyly’s platoon splits are not statistically significant, neither need to be lifted every time an opposite-handed hitter steps up, so having both can allow Leyland to mix and match in the 7th and 8th innings depending on what kind of hitters are due up in which inning. Although we can expect Leyland to use Veras more against right-handed batters, five of the six most productive offensive players in terms of wOBA this season either bat from the left side or are switch hitters: Jason Kipnis
(.379), Carlos Santana
(.363), Nick Swisher
(.331), Michael Brantley
(.321) Michael Bourn
This was a smart move in terms of value for the Tigers, but it wont make that much of difference (as adding a non-closer at the trade deadline usually is) in the standings at the end of the year.