The Astros announced on Friday that they had finalized the long-rumored deal to sign Free Agent Jose Veras. The right-handed relief pitcher has a major league career 4.01 ERA and 1.358 WHIP in 327 relief appearances scattered over seven seasons. He was first signed by Tampa Bay out of the Dominican Republic in 1998 and has played in the majors for the Yankees, Cleveland, Florida, Pittsburgh and, most recently, the Brewers.
The press release accompanying the announcement noted that Veras was tied for second in the majors in appearances over the last two seasons and that his strikeout rate and opponent batting average were in the top ten in the National League over the last three seasons. What they failed to note, however, was a high walk rate -- 4.9 walks per nine innings for his career and 5.4 walks per nine in 2012.
In order to make room for Veras on the 40-man roster, 3B/1B Brandon Laird was outrighted to Oklahoma City. OF Che-Hsuan Lin was also outrighted to Oklahoma City in order to make room for RHP John Ely who was picked up in a trade earlier this week. According to Brian Smith of the Chronicle, both Laird and Lin made it through waivers without being claimed.
I have updated the ongoing Off-Season Transaction list to reflect these moves.