While the Brewers and Shaun Marcum were able to avoid arbitration just minutes before a hearing the other week, the club wasn’t able to do the same with reliever Jose Veras. The Associated Press says the two sides went into a hearing today, and a decision on Veras’ 2012 salary will be made tomorrow (Tuesday).
Veras is the first player since Corey Hart in 2010 to take the Brewers to a hearing, and as Adam McCalvy notes, is just the second player in 14 years to force a hearing. Hart beat the Brewers in 2010, when he submitted an arbitration figure of $4.8 million. The team had offered $4.15 million.
It’s a bit odd that the Brewers and Veras weren’t able to strike some kind of deal, considering the two sides are squabbling over less than half a million dollars. The Brewers submitted a figure of $2 million, while Veras is looking for $2.375 million. The two sides can no longer negotiate a deal at the midway point — the arbitration panel must choose one of the two figures submitted. Arbitration salaries are still non-guaranteed up to a point — if, for whatever reason, the Brewers wanted to release Veras during spring training, they wouldn’t be on the hook for the entire salary. Considering how he figures to fit into the 2012 bullpen, though, that seems unlikely.
Veras was acquired in the trade that sent Casey McGehee to Pittsburgh on December 12, in what amounted to a swap of players that likely would have been non-tendered by their former clubs. Veras put up a 3.80 ERA in 71 innings last season for the Pirates (3.50 FIP / 3.87 xFIP), striking out 10.01 batters per 9 innings, but also walking 4.31 batters per 9. With the loss of LaTroy Hawkins and Takashi Saito, it appears Veras will be counted on to bridge the gap between the starters and the Francisco Rodriguez/John Axford duo.