Brewers: Right-hander Jeremy Jeffress signs with Cubs

Reliever Jeremy Jeffress will not be with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2020. Jeffress, a long-time Brewer, inked a one-year deal to pitch for the Chicago Cubs. This feels wrong.

It always seemed like Jeremy Jeffress would sign a Minor League deal with the Milwaukee Brewers before Spring Training started. That won’t be the case. Jeffress will try to earn a spot in the Chicago Cubs bullpen starting next month.

It was odd seeing Jesus Aguilar get traded. It’s going to feel unusual to see Mike Moustakas in Reds uniform. But Jeffress with the Cubs? No one wants to see that.

How did Jeffress time in Milwaukee end?

After returning to the Brewers at the trade deadline in 2017, Jeffress turned around his career. In 2017, Jeffress worked 22 games for the Brewers, and logged a 3.65 ERA. This was a huge improvement over the 5.31 ERA he posted for the Rangers in 39 games before the deal was made.

Jeffress re-signed with the Brewers after the 2017 season, and delivered the best year of his career. Jeffress worked 73 games for Milwaukee in 2018, and posted a 1.29 ERA. He worked 76 2/3 innings in which he struck out 89, walked 27, and was tagged for five homers. He was also a key reason why the Brewers were able to make it to the NLCS, and pitched through neck issues that should have landed him on the Injured List.

The Brewers picked up his club option for the 2019 season, and Jeffress didn’t enjoy the same success. Jeffress worked 48 games and logged a 5.02 ERA. He was released on September 1st.

What were the terms of his deal with the Cubs?

Jeffress signed a one-year deal worth $850K plus another $200K in possible incentives based on appearances. He does not have an option for 2021, so this is essentially a one-year ‘prove it’ deal in his age-32 season.

It was a surprise to see Jeffress get a guaranteed deal after he was released from the Brewers last September and didn’t find another team to catch on with.

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Jeffress had three separate stints with the Milwaukee Brewers organization. That’s rare even in 2020. Players change teams a lot more frequently, but it’s unusual for a player to spend time with the same organization on three different occasions. It would have be a nice story to see Jeffress try again in Milwaukee, but it seems like he needed a change of scenery. Hopefully, he’ll get a chance to return to the franchise that he’s come back to before.

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