With rosters expanding today and the Brewers needing to clear space on the 40-man roster for additions like Jimmy Nelson and Brent Suter to come off the 60-day Injured List, general manager David Stearns was going to have to make some tough or surprising 40-man decisions this morning.
We know the first one now, and it’s a shock -- Jeremy Jeffress is getting released, per Ken Rosenthal.
Likely to be announced as designated for assignment, with release to follow. Either way, off 40-man roster. https://t.co/cox7WnRePm— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) September 1, 2019
Jeffress struggled to repeat the success of a career-best season in 2018, stumbling out of the gates with muscle weakness in spring training that sapped his velocity.
Once he got on the mound, he was a different pitcher, using his splitter much less than he has in the past two seasons (from 15.8% last year to just 7.3% this year). He also struggled to be the shutdown “first closer” he was in the middle innings last season, when he stranded runners at an impossibly high rate of 92.9%. His career average is closer to 78%, but even expecting some regression this year, Jeffress’ production fell to a disappointing 63.8% LOB%.
Jeffress was currently on the injured list with a hip injury.
Jeffress had a team option for 2020 on his current contract, so this release is a bit different than Jhoulys Chacin’s, since Chacin was going to be a free agent at the end of the year anyway. It’s possible the team already decided they weren’t going to pick up Jeffress’ option and wanted the 40-man spot now, but given Jeffress’ connection with Milwaukee and the franchise, it’s possible he’s brought back on a different contract this offseason.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs