The Cubs have made some mistakes with signing closers in recent years.
At least they were able to admit a mistake with one Tuesday and move on.
Jose Veras is out after two unproductive months. The Cubs designated him for assignment as they welcomed current closer Hector Rondon back from paternity leave.
The 33-year-old Veras was 0-1 with an 8.10 ERA and a high WHIP of 1.73. The Cubs signed him this past off-season to a deal worth $4 million.
Instead of keeping him on the roster and sending out a productive young pitcher such as Neil Ramirez or Brian Schlitter, the Cubs took the hit and cut Veras.
The Cubs got good work from their young relievers Tuesday night in a 2-1 victory over the New York Mets at Wrigley Field. Nate Schierholtz hit a game-winning single to the right-field wall in the ninth to end the game. In the eighth, Chris Coghlan tied the game at 1-1 with his first homer of the season.
"I don't know if it's a message," general manager Jed Hoyer said of the Veras decision. "I think you're disappointed whenever you sign a free agent, bring in a veteran, and it didn't work out. When we sat down and made the decision, ultimately we've had a lot of young guys who are playing well in important, leveraged situations, and we want to just stick with those guys for right now.
"It's never a fun thing to have to do, but I think we felt it was the right thing given how Schlitter and Ramirez (have pitched), and now with (Pedro) Strop back and Rondon, we felt good about those guys, and we'll go forward with those guys."
Hoyer and team President Theo Epstein are finding out the hard way that it's easier and cheaper to develop your own closer rather than dish out big bucks to older relievers, especially when you have a team that's going nowhere in the standings.
Before the 2013 season, Epstein and Hoyer signed Japanese reliever Kyuji Fujikawa to a two-year deal worth $9.5 million. Fujikawa took over early last year for failed closer Carlos Marmol (who was developed from within by the previous regime) but soon came down with elbow problems and had Tommy John surgery. He is rehabbing in Arizona, and there is no timetable for his return.
Ramirez, who throws hard, has been impressive since his call-up from Class AAA Iowa in late April. Schlitter, a Park Ridge resident, came on in relief of Tuesday's starter, Jake Arrieta, and got out of a jam in the fifth inning.
After pitching a scoreless sixth, Schlitter gave way to James Russell, who also worked 1⅓ scoreless innings.
Ramirez came on in the eighth and got two outs. Rondon got the victory with a scoreless ninth inning.
"I think the organization has seen that these guys have stepped up and done a nice job," manager Rick Renteria said. "Maybe it sends two different messages.
"One is, 'You guys have done a nice job and we want to go with you.' With Jose, he kept working and kept battling back. He did a nice job the last couple of outings that he had, but the organization felt right now that these guys are throwing well enough to go ahead and give them an opportunity to grow and to learn."