There aren’t many surprises among the season-ending option decisions, but this is one of them: Detroit declined its $3.25 million option on reliever Jose Veras, making him a free agent.
Veras pitched well as the Astros’ closer and then was traded to the Tigers in late July, finishing the season as a setup man. Overall he threw 63 innings with a 3.02 ERA and 60/22 K/BB ratio, and dating back to 2010 he has a 3.55 ERA and 272 strikeouts in 249 total innings.
Veras has consistently been a setup-caliber reliever and fared well when given a chance to close for the Astros, so $3.25 million was seemingly a very reasonable price tag.
The Mets told Jay Bruce that the club plans on having him open the season as the everyday right fielder, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reports. This comes as no surprise after the Mets failed to get any bites after dangling Bruce as a trade chip. The Mets reportedly wanted a pair of prospects in exchange for Bruce.
With Bruce in right, Yoenis Cespedes back in left, and Curtis Granderson in center, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out. He’ll either warm the bench or head back to Triple-A Las Vegas for regular at-bats.
Bruce, who turns 30 years old in April, had a rough final two months of the 2016 season after joining the Mets in a trade from the Reds. He hit a paltry .219/.294/.391 with eight home runs and 19 RBI in 187 plate appearances. Bruce, apparently, wanted to go anywhere but in New York.
Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have inked outfielder Eric Young, Jr. to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Young, 31, played in just six games and logged one plate appearance in the majors this past season with the Yankees. He last played regularly in 2014. While Young doesn’t do much with the bat, he could provide value as a pinch-runner. He also offers versatility, having played all three outfield positions along with second base.
The Angels have Ben Revere as their fourth outfielder and Jefry Marte behind him, so Young would need to have a very impressive showing in spring training to find a spot on the Angels’ roster.