21 games into a baseball season, it’s hard to say anything is for certain. Things can change. Players get on hot streaks. In turn, teams get on winning streaks. But as of right now, the Cubs can’t win a series, and Jose Veras can’t get anyone out.
This season, Veras has worked 5 2/3 innings. What follows isn’t suitable for children, have them turn away. He’s allowed only six hits, but surrendered TEN runs. How? A two to one walk-to-strikeout ratio. 10 walks, two long balls, and here we are with two blown saves and a 15.88 ERA. Only once this season has Veras not allowed a run in an outing, that was versus the Pirates on April 8th.
So the question beckons, is Veras already a bust? Or can he salvage this season?
Let me say this, the talent that the front office has acquired as far as at the minor league levels has been outstanding. Whether through trades or draft, the Cubs have some promising young players throughout the system. Not a guarantee of success, but better than where the farm system was five years ago.
But I cannot with any part of my Cubbie bleeding blue heart endorse the signings of Veras, or Edwin Jackson. Both were huge financial mistakes in my opinion.
And it’s not to say the Cubs haven’t made great moves with pitching in the off-season the last few years. Two great examples, Paul Maholm and Scott Feldman. The Cubs turned those low risk/high reward signings into exactly that. And Jason Hammel is fitting the bill this season.
I’ll save Jackson for another time, but Veras should have been a red flag in the eyes of the Cubs’ scouts from the start. Career numbers did not indicate a player worthy of being handed the keys to the closer role, nor the money handed over with it. Players who change teams often (The Cubs are Veras’ eighth team since 2009) generally didn’t stick for a reason. I’m clearly not a major league scout, that I openly admit. But I watched highlights of Veras’ and saw a similar, violent delivery, often leading to control issues. Sound like a closer we had recently?
These are the problems that are plaguing Veras now. He can’t locate the curve ball, and once he’s forced to throw a strike, he’s getting hammered. Control is key in late innings. And there isn’t any right now. I do hope Veras can solve whatever issues he’s having on the mound, because as of now no one seems to be stepping up to fill in those closing duties effectively.