With a little over an hour left to go before the non-tender deadline, the Milwaukee Brewers came to terms with righty Jeremy Jeffress to avoid arbitration.
Jeffress was considered a non-tender candidate. By signing this deal, he is able to remain in the organization where he has had most of his career success. His contract for next season is worth $1.75 million. He also reportedly has two club options on his deal.
After joining the Brewers at the July trade deadline, Jeffress pitched to a 3.65 ERA in 22 games while giving up 15 walks and striking out 22 batters. Prior to that, he was one of the best pitchers in the Brewers bullpen. In 2016, he saved 27 games with a 2.22 ERA with Milwaukee before the trade to the Rangers along with Jonathan Lucroy for Lewis Brinson, Luis Ortiz, and Ryan Cordell.
Jeffress is most successful when he’s in a Brewers uniform. It makes sense for him to return to Milwaukee where he feels comfortable.
MLBTR projected Jeffress to earn $2.6 million if he went through arbitration. Instead, he signs for less than that, at $1.75 million. He was likely given the option of either accepting the contract for less money or being non-tender decision. And instead of heading onto the open market, Jeffress will stay with the organization that drafted him.
He is not a closer anymore. But as we saw in the second half of this past season, Jeffress will pitch in any situation. He can close games, he can set up for Corey Knebel, and he can pitch in middle relief. He even started a game for the Milwaukee Brewers.
It’s interesting that he receives two club options on his deal. The money increases each year and gives Jeffress the potential to earn up to $11.425 million over a three year span if all options are excercised and he reaches all of his $2.2 million in incentives. With this deal, the Brewers buy out his final year of arbitration and one year of free agency.
Jeffress had to settle for almost one million dollars less than what he would’ve received had he gone through arbitration but he also receives the long term stability and the pay increase over the final two years makes up for it.
With Jeffress now accounted for, the Milwaukee Brewers have five players remaining to tender contracts for arbitration and seem likely to do so on four of them. Those players include Jimmy Nelson, Corey Knebel, Jonathan Villar, Hernan Perez. Jared Hughes is the only non-tender decision.