There has not been a whole lot of consistencies with the Chicago Cubs in this weird 2020 season, but one consistent has been Jeremy Jeffress, who has been a savior for the bullpen.
In 13 games, the Chicago Cubs’ Jeremy Jeffress has a 1.20 ERA with four saves. In 15 innings, he has given up just five hits, walked seven, and struck out 10. Opponents are hitting just .104 against him. His emergence has become even more critical as Craig Kimbrel continues to struggle.
Jeffress is familiar with the NL Central, having pitched for the Milwaukee Brewers three different times in his career. He had a career year in 2018, with a 1.29 ERA in 73 games, recording 15 saves helping Milwaukee reach the NLCS, where they lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers in seven games.
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Jeffress signed a one-year deal worth just $850,000 with the Cubs last winter. He has already had a few key moments as a Cub, bailing out Kimbrel against the Cincinnati Reds early in the season when Kimbrel walked four hitters, Jeffress came in with the bases loaded in a one-run game and retired the next two hitters to seal the win.
Against the Pirates, Jeffress came in the bottom of the 10th to put the fire out and got a double play and prevented the run from scoring from second base to seal the win in 11 innings. The Cubs were looking to avoid a sweep against the White Sox, and Jeffress came in to close the last game. He got Eloy Jimenez to fly out with two men on to preserve the lead and then loaded the bases in the ninth inning before escaping.
Jeffress has yet to allow an inherited runner to score when entering a game this season, according to ESPN’s Jesse Rogers.
Jeffress is never rattled mentally, which is a big thing for a relief pitcher since they always come in at various times and sometimes with men on base. Jeffress has been nails this season, and really, the Cubs needed somebody to step up, given all the uncertainty with the bullpen. Jeffress has been that guy.
He’s also an easy guy to root for. Jeffress has overcome alcoholism in his life, and it’s effortless to root for guys that can overcome their demons throughout their careers.
Jeffress deserves another contract with the Cubs for 2021. With Jose Quintana and Jon Lester becoming free agents and their money coming off the books, there is going to be some money to spend.
There is no such thing as too many bullpen arms, and why not let one of the most effective 2020 relievers get another shot with the team? The Cubs should consider bringing Jeffress back, even if it’s on the cheap again. It’s worked, and he has performed way above the sales price.