Jose Veras chooses Pirates over Giants, Rockies, Twins, Marlins, and Rays

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Reportedly offered minor-league contracts by as many as a half-dozen teams last week, reliever Jose Veras has signed with the Pirates, according to Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes.

Veras chose the Pirates over the Giants, Rockies, Twins, Marlins, and Rays, with Rojas reporting that the right-hander will receive a base salary of $1 million if he makes the team and could earn an additional $500,000 in incentives.

Veras has a 4.25 ERA in 176 career innings, including a 3.75 ERA and 54/29 K/BB ratio in 48 innings for the Marlins last season. He has good raw stuff, with a mid-90s fastball and nearly a strikeout per inning, but has struggled to consistently throw strikes.

Report: Giants showed some interest in Phillies’ Maikel Franco at Winter Meetings

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Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that the Giants were “sniffing around” on Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco at the recently completed Winter Meetings.

Franco, 25, would be a nice buy-low candidate for the Giants, who don’t have a reliable third baseman yet. Currently, Pablo Sandoval would get the lion’s share of starts at the hot corner. Franco was a consensus top-100 prospect going into the 2014 and ’15 seasons, but hasn’t lived up to the hype over the last two seasons. In 2017, he hit .230/.281/.409 with 24 home runs and 76 RBI in 623 plate appearances.

Moving Franco wouldn’t necessarily solve any problems for the Phillies. After signing first baseman Carlos Santana, Rhys Hoskins is expected to play in the outfield full-time. As a result, the Phillies have too many outfielders with Odubel Herrera, Nick Williams, and Aaron Altherr. Technically, the Phillies could move Santana to third base as he has experience there, but he hasn’t played the hot corner since 2014.

Franco is arbitration eligible over the next four seasons, which might be the most attractive thing about him to other teams.