Brewer fans woke up this morning to shocking news. MLB analyst, Ken Rosenthal, reported that Milwaukee released veteran reliever, Jeremy Jeffress. Last off-season the Brewers signed Jeffress to a two-year contract with 2020 being a team option that they of course, are not picking up.
The release is likely due to JJ’s struggles on the mound this season. He was 3-4 with a 5.02 ERA in 52.0 innings. His K/9 was down 2.4 points from last year and he also had a high 1.365 WHIP. Many people, including me, expected Jeffress to have another good year after he was named to his first and only All-Star team in 2018. JJ was 8-1 with a 1.29 ERA in 76.2 innings and was one of the best relief pitchers in all of baseball last season. People expected a little regression out of Jeffress this season but nobody expected such a steep decline from the fan favorite.
Jeffress suffered an injury at the end of last season and he has not been the same since. His velocity has gone way down as well as his accuracy. Jeffress used to be able to throw his fastball 96-99 consistently and now he is in the 92-94 range. With a slower fastball, his off-speed pitches need to be better and he just hasn’t been able to throw them effectively all season.
Jeffress’ season may be over with the Brewers but it would not surprise me to see a contending team sign him to add bullpen depth. After all, Jeffress is a 10-year veteran who has pitched in 401.0 innings and has a very respectable career ERA of 3.16.
It’s sad to see Jeffress released but most fans saw the writing on the wall. However, no matter how his career ended with the Brewers, he still provided the team 7 solid seasons and 304.2 innings pitched with an ERA of 2.66. JJ was one of the most exciting players the Brewers had and we (the Cream City Central team) wish him luck in all of his future endeavors.
*Stats according to baseball-reference.com*