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Cubs announce deal with righty closer Veras

Cubs announce deal with righty closer Veras

Cubs announce deal with righty closer Veras

CHICAGO -- The Cubs now have a bona fide closer.

On Friday, the Cubs announced they have signed right-hander Jose Veras to a one-year, $3.85 million contract with a club option for 2015. There is a $150,000 buyout for 2015.

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The Cubs did not choose to keep free agent Kevin Gregg after he saved 33 games last season. Gregg took over for Carlos Marmol, who was traded to the Dodgers, and Kyuji Fujikawa, who needed Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.

Veras, 33, combined to go 0-5 with 21 saves and a 3.02 ERA in 67 relief appearances between the Astros and Tigers last season. He struck out 60 and walked 22 over 62 2/3 innings, and opponents hit .199 against him.

The right-hander began the season with Houston and posted a 2.93 ERA and 19 saves in 42 outings before he was traded to Detroit, where he made 25 appearances and helped the Tigers reach the postseason.

In 2011, Veras ranked fifth in the National League with 27 holds in a career-high 79 appearances. He also was a member of the 2013 World Baseball Classic Dominican Republic club. Since the start of the 2011 season, he is tied for fifth in the Major Leagues with 218 appearances.

His contract with the Cubs includes incentives for an additional $750,000 based on games finished.

Veras and the Cubs reportedly agreed to a deal earlier this month, and the announcement was pending the right-hander passing a physical.

"There's a lot of good talent, good guys on that team," Veras told MLB.com earlier in December when the signing was reported. "Hopefully, we'll see it's going to be good. Maybe it's the same situation as Houston with the Latin guys being young guys who had a lot of talent. I still have to do my job anyway."

Veras was a strong presence in the Astros' young clubhouse, especially among the Latin players, and even once called a team meeting. He has pitched for the Yankees, Indians, Marlins, Pirates, Brewers, Astros and Tigers.

The Cubs' bullpen is definitely stronger with Veras at the end. He joins lefty relievers James Russell, Wesley Wright and Zac Rosscup, and right-handers Pedro Strop, Hector Rondon, Blake Parker, and Arodys Vizcaino.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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