Reliever Jeremy Jeffress is once again on the free-agent market, and now is the perfect time for the Angels to sign him. After agreeing to a one-year minor league deal, Washington released Jeffress on Sunday for what the team cited as ‘personnel reasons.’
It’s a bit head-scratching and comes shortly after Nationals manager Dave Martinez said Jeffress ‘looked great’ in camp. There’s still limited context, but it appears as if the issues have to do with Jeffress and his agent Joshua Kusnick.
While no one knows exactly what this means, I’d speculate it has something to do with the contract Jeffress signed. The deal surprised me at the time, considering it was only a minor league option, and Jeffress was an NL Reliever of the Year finalist in 2020. If he made the Opening Day roster, the right-hander would have earned $1.25 million this season.
Angels: Jeremy Jeffress is once again on the market following his release.
Maybe there were better, guaranteed options on the table that Kusnick did not present to Jeffress? I think of some types of deception or trust issues when he says his agent ‘ruined’ his life.
I find it hard to believe not one of the 30 MLB teams was willing to offer Jeffress a guaranteed contract. It was a small sample size, but Jeffress was among the best relievers in the league last summer. Jeffress, 33, was also analytically one of the best in creating soft contact.
Jeremy Jeffress Last Three Seasons:
- 2018: 1.29 ERA 76.2 IP 0.991 WHIP (All-Star)
- 2019: 5.02 ERA 52 IP 1.365 WHIP
- 2020: 1.54 ERA 23.1 IP 0.943 WHIP
The 2019 campaign is an eyesore, but that bad season is sandwiched in between two All-Star caliber seasons. In his 11-year career, Jeffress has posted a 3.08 ERA and 1.324 WHIP.
He isn’t going to blow hitters away with a 95-plus MPH fastball, but Jeffress is a veteran pitcher who knows how to generate outs. Having an arm and swagger like his in your ‘pen goes a long way in contending for a championship.
We’ve seen the Astros improve after signing Jake Odorizzi and the Athletics after signing two of the Angels offseason reliever targets. Now is the perfect opportunity for general manager Perry Minasian to better this Halos roster.
The severity of the ‘personnel reasons’ for the Nationals releasing Jeffress is unknown. Still, it doesn’t sound as if it is directed towards anyone on the team rather than his agent. Jeffress has also never been known as a detriment to the locker room and has always been well-regarded as a teammate.
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After releasing Gerardo Reyes, the Angels currently have one spot open on their 40-man roster.