As expected, no other teams claimed Jose Veras and the remainder of his $4 million contract off waivers after the Cubs designated him for assignment last week and the 33-year-old reliever has been released.
Veras was signed as a free agent this offseason to take over as the Cubs’ closer, but instead he saved zero games with an 8.10 ERA in 13 innings before being dropped from the roster.
Veras was very effective for the Astros and Tigers last season, posting a 3.02 ERA and 60/22 K/BB ratio in 63 innings, and in general has been a setup-caliber reliever with a 3.55 ERA in 249 innings from 2010-2013. Now that he’s available for the minimum salary while the Cubs cover the rest of his contract quite a few teams figure to be interested in adding Veras as bullpen depth.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the Nationals will ask to speak with Astros’ bench coach Alex Cora after the American League Championship Series concludes on Saturday. This comes on the heels of the news that club manager Dusty Baker will not be returning to the team in 2018.
Cora, 42, has some experience in the Nationals’ organization. He played for the Nats during his last big league stint in 2011, batting .224/.287/.276 through 91 games before announcing his retirement in the spring of 2012. Per Cafardo, he was also offered a player development gig with the club, but has not appeared in any kind of official role with them since his days as a major league infielder. While he’s been lauded for his leadership skills and strong clubhouse presence, he hasn’t acquired any managerial experience since his retirement, save for a handful of games with the Astros where he filled in for A.J. Hinch.
Despite the appeal of having a familiar face in the dugout, the Nationals aren’t the only ones eyeing Cora. The Astros’ coach has already interviewed with the Tigers, Mets and Red Sox this month. Boston appears to be the current favorite to land him and according to at least one source, may even announce his hiring in advance of the World Series next Tuesday.