Former Milwaukee Brewers closer Jeremy Jeffress would be a great free agency pickup for the Miami Marlins.
All the better if the Marlins can sign right-handed reliever Jeremy Jeffress on a minor league deal with incentives. At 32-years-of-age and coming off a down-season, Jeffress should be amenable to signing at a discount.
Now a 10-year major league veteran, Jeffress is two seasons removed from his only All Star invitation. In 2018, he racked up a career-best 0.991 WHIP, going 8-1 with a 1.29 ERA and 89 strikeouts in 76 2/3 innings. He closed the season with an ERA+ of 317.
Contrast that to the 2019 campaign, when he was 3-4 with a 5.02 ERA, a 1.365 WHIP, 46 whiffs in 52 innings, and an ERA+ of just 89. The tough season was exacerbated by shoulder and hip injuries suffered early in the season which may have had some impact on his delivery. Fish Across the Pond, the lovely UK-based Marlins podcast, spoke at length about Jeffress in their last episode.
At any rate, Jeffress has proved in the past that he’s the real deal. He’s 28-11 with a 3.16 ERA over the course of his career. He’s struck out 370 in 401 frames, along with a 135 ERA+. Jeffress could prove an unorthodox fix to the Marlins (lack of) closer problem. He has filled the position in the past, having saved 44 major league games (42 of them for Milwaukee in 2016 and 2018).
Jeffress, a South Boston, VA native, was originally a first round choice of the Brewers back in the 2006 MLB Amateur Entry Draft. Since then, he appeared for the Kansas City Royals and the Toronto Blue Jays before returning to Milwaukee. He then joined the Texas Rangers for a spell before returning to the Brewers for a third hitch.
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Jeffress could be a bargain on a two-way deal, and could pay huge dividends further on in the season if he starts breaking out prior to the trade deadline. If the Marlins are unexpectedly in the playoff picture, he can help. If they’re not, he can be flipped for future help in the form of more prospects (you can never really have too many).
Other options yet external to the organization include Brandon Kintzler, Sam Dyson, Josh Tomlin, Francisco Liriano, and Fernando Rodney (lol). Internal options remain plenty, if completely unproven. Earlier today, Marlin Maniac’s own David Fernandez pitched a case for Jarlin Garcia. Also of possibility remain Drew Steckenrider, Adam Conley, Yimi Garcia, Jorge Guzman, Jose Quijada, Ryne Stanek, and Jose Urena.
Whoever the Marlins settle on, or if Don Mattingly again decides on a “closer by committee,” we’ll just have to wait and see. Keep checking here at Marlin Maniac for all your Marlins news.