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.
Mariners right-hander Erasmo Ramirez has been shut down for two weeks with a minor lat strain, reports Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. It’s a precautionary move, as Ramirez felt some tightness in his arm and could not complete his scheduled bullpen session on Saturday.
There’s no word yet on whether Ramirez will be able to recover in time for the start of the season, though he’s expected to claim a rotation spot again this spring. The 28-year-old righty has been dogged by injuries throughout his six-year career, but finally managed to piece together a full season on the mound in back-to-back stints with the Rays and Mariners in 2017. He went 5-6 in 19 starts for the two clubs and turned in a cumulative 4.39 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 through 131 1/3 innings.
The Mariners are no stranger to pitcher injuries, either. They lost a number of their top arms to various elbow, arm and shoulder injuries last year and cycled through 40 total pitchers as they limped toward a 78-84 finish. Comments from club manager Scott Servais indicate that the team will keep a close eye on Ramirez throughout his recovery, though Divish notes that right-hander Andrew Moore and lefty Ariel Miranda could also slot into the no. 5 spot if Ramirez experiences further setbacks.