The Chicago Cubs have largely sat out the offseason until recently, when they signed the oft-injured outfielder Steven Souza to a major league deal. It appears they’ve now added another major league piece — and it’s a familiar face.
ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports Jeremy Jeffress is agreeing to a one-year deal with the Cubs, worth a guaranteed $850,000 with another $200,000 possible.
Reliever Jeremy Jeffress and the Chicago Cubs are in agreement on a one-year, $850,000 major league contract, sources familiar with the deal tell ESPN. Jeffress can earn an additional $200,000 based on games pitched.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 28, 2020
Jeffress is coming off a rocky 2019 that was largely doomed from the start, when he missed much of spring training trying to rebuild strength in his shoulder. The velocity he had in 2018 as the team’s closer never truly returned, and he largely abandoned the split-changeup that brought him so much success upon his return in 2017 and in 2018.
Without batters swinging at that pitch out of the zone, he was left to throw fastballs in the zone, leading to a 5.02 ERA in 52 innings (albeit a bit of an unlucky one, according to his 3.96 FIP) before his release in September.
It’s well-known Jeffress’ track record outside of Milwaukee is not good, but the Cubs have seen him more than just about anyone — he’s appeared in 31 games against the Cubs in his career — and may see something they could fix. If they could get him to throw the split-change again to get him to regain his command, it could be a start. If he’s right, he could prove to be a solid replacement for Pedro Strop, who is still a free agent but appears unlikely to return to the north side.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference