Could former Milwaukee Brewer and relief pitcher Jeremy Jeffress return to the team and complete an outstanding bullpen? Signs are starting to point to yes.
The main buzz right now for Milwaukee is bringing in a third baseman or starting pitcher. Will they sign Justin Turner or Maikel Franco for the corner opposite Keston Hiura and Danny Vogelbach? Can Taijuan Walker or Rich Hill bolster their starting pitching?
Obviously the big signing was Kolten Wong. The Brewers now have a Gold Glove, a new first baseman in Hiura and their new second baseman on a team-friendly deal for at least two years.
But David Stearns being David Stearns, it wouldn’t be an off-season without a sneaky signing. Daniel Robertson and Haine Brady might already be those signings, but I wouldn’t be shocked if Stearns brought back Jeffress on a one-year deal.
Jeremy Jeffress And The Brewers
Jeffress was drafted by Milwaukee in 2006. He made his major league debut on September 1st, 2010. That December, he was traded to the Kansas City Royals in the blockbuster trade for Zack Greinke.
In 2014, Jeffress signed a minor league contract and returned to the Brewers. He was on the active roster by July, and had a fantastic year. He ended with a 1-1 record and an ERA of 1.88 over 29 games. 2015 he posted a 5-0 record with a 2.65 ERA.
Jeffress had a 2-2 record and a 2.22 ERA with 27 saves before he was traded to the Texas Rangers n 2016. Who did they get back? Lewis Brinson, who then helped the Brewers get Christian Yelich.
Almost an exact year later, the Rangers traded Jeffress back to Milwaukee. In 2018, Jeremy was an All-Star Team replacement. He deserved it too. Over 73 games, he was 8-1 with a 1.29 ERA, 18 holds and 15 saves. He was a key piece in the bullpen during the Brewers’ 2018 run to the NLCS.
After a rough 2019, the 32-year-old was released in September before the season ended.
Jeffress 2020 Season
On January 28th, Jeffress signed with the enemy. It was devastating to see him in a Chicago Cubs uniform. He will forever be a Brewers favorite though, and fans were happy he got another shot somewhere. He signed a one-year, $850K contract with possible incentives.
Jeremy earned that contract. He ended the shortened season with a 4-1 record, 1.54 ERA, three holds and eight saves. He was a big part of the Cub’s bullpen that helped them win the NL Central last season. What did Jeffress also do with his year in Chicago? He worked in a food truck from time to time delivering meals to frontline workers during the first few months of Covid. Try to say a bad word about Jeffress, I dare you.
Is A Return Possible?
Well, you never say never. Jeffress has been gone and come back so many times already. Why would another one-year deal hurt? He is a relief veteran who help some of the young talent and knows how to pitch in high-stress situations in the new American Family Field, aka the Am Fam Clam.
Milwaukee does have a stacked bullpen already though. Josh Hader, Devin Williams, Eric Yardley, Justin Topa, Brent Suter, Freddy Peralta, Drew Rasmussen, J.P. Feyereisen, Ray Black, and possibly Adrian Houser, Eric Lauer and Blaine Hardy. So would there be any room? You can always sign players for competition and to have as good of a bullpen as possible. Right now, the Brewers have a chance to have a Top Five, if not the best Bullpen in Major League Baseball. Adding in Jeffress would garner no complaints.
Updating predictions w/ Ozuna to ATL:
B. Miller: CHW
— Jon Becker (@jonbecker_) February 6, 2021
Rumblings started this week about Jeffress returning to Milwaukee. Free agency signing is now in full swing just weeks away from pitchers and catchers reporting. It is also believed that free agents will be signed all the way up to Opening Day at a higher rate than other seasons.
And it all might be speculation and hearsay, but it’s a perfect low-risk signing the Brewers can do to stiffen up the competition in the bullpen. There would still be plenty of money for a third baseman or starting pitcher.