We still don’t know exactly what happened between former Cubs reliever Jeremy Jeffress and the team that surprisingly released him earlier this month, the Nationals. All the team would say is that it was a “personnel decision,” which is fine and normal … but not for a minor league signing who was expected to make the team and who was just drawing praise from the manager. The timing and the silence were really weird.
For his part, Jeffress only vaguely alluded to some kind of issue with his former agent, writing on Twitter that the agent “[just] ruined my life. I’ve been nothing but a great friend and client to him. For over 10 years. Thanks buddy.”
Meanwhile, 10 days later, Jeffress is still unsigned out there, despite rumors of plenty of interest throughout the offseason (including reported interest in a reunion from the Cubs). Typically, you’d have expected a quality free agent option like Jeffress – his peripherals were meh last year, but his results were excellent, and he’s long made a career of beating his FIP – to find a deal by now, even if it’s just another minor league shot. Again, it’s just really weird.
And today, Jeffress took to Twitter again, suggesting that teams won’t sign him because they think he’s “a problem”:
The fact that my ex agent has ruin my chances on playing this season is killing me. I want to sign with anyone but going home would be a blessing. You wanna kno the real me. Talk to me not bums!!
— Jeremy Jeffress (@JMontana41) March 17, 2021
I can’t speak to whatever is going on, because it’s still not clear. It did seem from the outside like Jeffress was very well-liked by his Cubs teammates, and I’m not aware of any of those kinds of clubhouse issues in his past. So these updates from Jeffress – and the suggestions that his old agent is blowing things up for him – are just odd. There’s obviously a ton more to this story.
Whatever the case, on pitching ability, you’d think there would be an opportunity out there for Jeffress, if not with the Cubs, then at least elsewhere. I’m not sure there’s a great path to innings on the Cubs after the Ryan Tepera signing and if Pedro Strop has a legit chance to make the team. The Cubs built up an extremely crowded bullpen competition, and performances this spring haven’t done a lot to thin the herd just yet.