Update 6:50 PM: The deal is one year at 3.8M with an option for 5.5M for 2015. The Cubs can buy out the option for 150K, making the deal a guaranteed $4M for Veras. There are also incentives for games finished.
The Cubs finally got their experienced reliever. After falling short on relievers like Edward Mujica and John Axford, the Cubs signed former Yankees farmhand Jose Veras to fill a late inning role, perhaps as the closer.
Veras, 33, has already pitched for 7 teams, most recently the Detroit Tigers. He's been a solid reliever, however, averaging around a half a win over the past 3 seasons. He'll miss bats as his 9.3 Ks/9 IP (24%) career rate suggests. He'll also walk hitters (4.63 BB/9 IP and 12% rate).
He is that "experienced closer" that the Cubs lack with the loss of Kevin Gregg as he saved 21 games in 2013 to go with a respectable 3.02 ERA (3.62 FIP). I believe he'll be in the mix to be the closer but my guess is that the Cubs would rather see Pedro Strop or one of the other young pitchers eventually win that role and have Veras as the set-up guy/plan B closer. That said, at $4M, even for one year, he's likely getting paid to finish games. The Cubs would probably like to get something back for that other than arbitrary save totals. It's also entirely possible as well that the Cubs had to promise him that role to get him to sign on a team that wasn't going to contend.
As far as stuff, Veras is essentially a 3 pitch reliever who leads with a mid 90s fastball and mixes in a curveball and split-finger fastball. With Veras it's a matter of throwing strikes but one a one year deal, I think this is a good risk to take for the Cubs.
If he is successful as the closer and the Cubs are out of the race, he becomes an obvious flip candidate at the deadline. Last year the Astros did exactly that, picking up a promising young 19 year old pitcher named David Paulino in the process.