Cubs need to address the closer question by signing Jeremy Jeffress

If the Chicago Cubs need help in their bullpen, they should look no further than bringing back right-hander Jeremy Jeffress.

The reliever was released by the Nationals on March 7 due to what Washington cited as ‘personnel reasons’. It’s odd timing considering the decision came shortly after manager Dave Martinez said Jeffress ‘looked great’ in camp. If not for anything, physical what could it have been?

That’s still up in the air, as is the meaning of this tweet from Jeffress on the day of his release.

Kusnick was Jeffress’ former agent but has not represented the right-hander since 2019.

Regardless of what happened internally, Jeffress is back on the market, and the Cubs need to go after him. Jeffress previously signed a minor league deal with the Nationals worth $1.25 million if he made the Opening Day roster.

Cubs: A reunion with Jeremy Jeffress makes too much sense to pass up.

That would have been quite a bargain for Washington, considering Jeffress was an NL Reliever of the Year finalist in 2020. Jeffress made $850K last summer, which was prorated to just under $315K in the shortened season. With how he performed on the mound, the Cubs got their money’s worth and then some.

Jeremy Jeffress – Last Three Seasons:

  • 2018: 1.29 ERA 76.2 IP 0.991 WHIP (All-Star)
  • 2019: 5.02 ERA 52 IP 1.365 WHIP
  • 2020: 1.54 ERA 23.1 IP 0.943 WHIP

Jeffress was also among the league’s best pitchers analytically in terms of creating soft contact.

Given his poor 2019 campaign, it’s understandable why Jeffress would not get a big payday the following season. For it to happen again this past offseason after a dominant season blows my mind. I feel like Jeffress could have pulled a fan off the streets to represent him, and they could have negotiated a guaranteed contract at a minimum.

The 33-year-old isn’t going to blow hitters away with 95 MPH fastballs, but he can generate outs effectively. That’s something Cubs closer Craig Kimbrel is struggling to do.

After being named as the team’s closer, Kimbrel has allowed nine earned runs in 2 2/3 innings. It’s still early, and it’s only spring training. Though we’ve seen Kimbrel struggle on the North Side, and the Cubs cannot afford a slow start. There is also a chance Rowan Wick could miss time due to ongoing oblique issues.

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Maybe the team can use a committee or experiment at the backend of the bullpen, but why not sign a proven arm like Jeffress?