Cubs release Jose Veras

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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.

It looks like Bryce Harper cheated in the Home Run Derby

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I just saw Jay Jaffe of FanGraphs refer to this as “BryceGhazi” and we’re not gonna top that, so we shouldn’t even try.

The controversy: Bryce Harper, in defeating Kyle Schwarber in the Home Run Derby last night, didn’t follow the rules. Or else his dad, who was pitching to him didn’t. The rule in question is that the pitcher has to wait for the last hit ball to land before delivering the next one. Given that the Derby is a timed event, such a thing matters, of course, because the faster you get pitches the faster you can hit them out of the park. At least if you don’t get too tired first.

Harper’s dad was a bit quick with the final three pitches in the final round, allowing Harper to get to 18, tying Kyle Schwarber before winning it outright with his 30 seconds bonus time. Watch as Harper waves for his dad to deliver the pitch while the last ball is still flying:

I’m not gonna argue that he didn’t do it. I will say, however, that no one should really care. Mostly because it’s the Home Run Derby and it doesn’t matter a bit. Getting mad about this is a half-step removed from getting mad that Blackjack Mulligan used a foreign object to gouge Pedro Morales’ eyes during a house show in 1976. Yes, it’s true, but c’mon, we’re entertaining people here.

I have not seen any suggestion that Kyle Schwarber is upset, but if he later says he is I’ll simultaneously understand yet still roll my eyes. I doubt MLB will do anything here or issue a statement of any kind. If it does, I’ll roll my eyes harder. Because, I repeat: It’s the Home Run Derby.