Brewers, Veras poised to part ways

Jose Veras and the Brewers were poised to part ways Wednesday after the Brewers notified the reliever they intended to outright him from the 40-man roster, a move that would end his yearlong tenure with a team in the process of rebuilding its bullpen.

Agent Bryce Dixon said Veras elected free agency but a Brewers official called that announcement premature because the player must first clear waivers. That secretive process was ongoing as of Wednesday evening, leaving open several possibilities, including that Veras could be claimed by another club before he has a chance to reach the open market.

At the moment, Veras remained arbitration-eligible after posting a 3.63 ERA in 72 appearances in 2012. But if he clears waivers, refuses the outright assignment and elects free agency instead, he would be free to sign with any team beginning Friday at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Veras, 32, would join Francisco Rodriguez and Livan Hernandez as members of the Brewers’ 2012 bullpen to hit the open market. Brewers relievers owned the National League’s worst ERA (4.66) and most blown saves (29) in 2012. The blown saves were a franchise record.

Veras’ season was one of ups and downs. On one hand he posted a third straight season of at least 45 appearances and a sub-4.00 ERA, a second straight season with at least 70 appearances, and did not allow a run in any of his 14 games in September. On the other hand, Veras walked 40 batters in 67 innings — the third-most walks among Major League relievers.

Manager Ron Roenicke praised Veras’ bottom line, but discussed in late September his occasional frustration with Veras and other Brewers relief arms.

“How many times have we put him in a game and we have to go get him? How many times do we have to have somebody else warm up?” Roenicke said. “And I’m not saying this just about [Veras]. That’s not what I’m saying. He has had good numbers, He is throwing the ball well — he is. But look at the whole picture of what happens.”

Roenicke argued that, “sometimes the numbers don’t tell the whole story.”

But he also praised Veras’ raw talent, adding, “He’s got a great curveball. He’s also got an outstanding fastball, and when he’s locating both those pitches, he’s not going to get hit.”

The Brewers acquired Veras last December from the Pirates for infielder Casey McGehee, who, coincidentally, elected free agency on Wednesday.

With Veras’ departure, the Brewers have eight players eligible for arbitration: pitchers John Axford, Marco Estrada, Kameron Loe, Chris Narveson and Manny Parra, first baseman Travis Ishikawa and outfielders Carlos Gomez and Nyjer Morgan.


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