Jose Veras served as the Astros’ closer this past season before a trade to the Tigers in July and now it appears that a return to Houston could be in the cards.
Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reported this afternoon that the Astros made an offer to Veras which was turned down. The two sides are still negotiating and the 33-year-old said yesterday that he would like to return to Houston, so something could get done eventually. However, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle hears that the Astros “have a lot of offers out” and are no closer to a deal with Veras than they are with anybody else.
Veras thrived as a first-time closer with Houston this year, posting a 2.92 ERA with 19 saves in 42 appearances prior to being traded to Detroit. Though it doesn’t matter much for a team that isn’t expected to contend, he would immediately be the favorite for saves if the Astros bring him back. It could require a multi-year deal this time around, though.
During the offseason, the Astros finally got rid of Tal’s Hill in center field. It was a throwback to older stadiums, some of which had uneven topography — Crosley Field, namely. As unique as it was in the age of cookie cutter sports stadiums, most of us were holding our collective breaths hoping no one ruptured an Achilles or suffered another brutal injury trying to navigate the hill while attempting to catch a fly ball.
We saw what it looked like during reconstruction:
And now, via Julia Morales of ROOT Sports, we see what it looks like after all the work has been done:
The Astros are allowing fans with Lexus Field Club tickets to stand on the new warning track to watch batting practice and shag fly balls as well, Morales notes. Lexus Field Club is where Tal’s Hill used to be.
Good riddance, Tal’s Hill.
Jhoulys Chacin will start on Opening Day, April 3 against the Dodgers in Los Angeles, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. It will be Chacin’s second Opening Day start, the other coming in 2013 with the Rockies against the Brewers. He’ll be the fifth different Padres pitcher in as many years to start on Opening Day.
Chacin, 29, inked a one-year, $1.75 million contract with the Padres in December. The right-hander spent the 2016 season with the Braves and Angels, compiling an aggregate 4.81 ERA with a 119/55 K/BB ratio in 144 innings.
Lin notes that Chacin will be followed in the rotation by Clayton Richard and Jered Weaver. It will be an interesting rotation, to say the least, as it will arguably be the worst in baseball.