Jeremy Jeffress started 2016 by seizing the Brewers closer job, his first sustained opportunity to save games after years of hype thanks to his big velocity. Unfortunately, his value all but disappeared after Milwaukee traded him to the Rangers. Jeffress continued his fine form with a 2.70 ERA in 13.1 innings with Texas, mostly in an eighth-inning role, but he then had to leave the team to deal with substance abuse issues after a DWI. Fortunately he was able to return to pitch over the final week of the season. Jeffress kept his excellent control and groundball rates with increased efficiency: His 61.0 first-strike percentage marked a career best, but his success came with a significant loss of more than 2.0 K/9. The right-hander's 9.6 percent swinging-strike rate says he can regain some of his formerly overpowering approach, though he is not guaranteed to step in if Dyson falters, as Matt Bush has emerged as a more prototypical ninth inning candidate.
Jeffress pitched an inning against minor leaguers Saturday, Stefan Stevenson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. He retired the side in order on nine pitches, recording one strikeout. The right-hander has not been scored upon in seven Cactus League innings this spring, but with seven hits allowed and a 4:3 K:BB in that span, he hasn't exactly been dominant. Regardless, Jeffress appears in line to serve as the top setup option to closer Sam Dyson to begin 2017, ahead of the likes of Matt Bush and Keone Kela.
Jeffress and the Rangers avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $2.1 million contract Friday, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. Jeffress notched 27 saves for the Brewers before being sent to the Rangers at last year's trade deadline, but he appeared in just 12 games for his new club due to a stint on the restricted list for personal reasons. He was still effective in those outings, however, so the Rangers decided to bring him back for another year. He was used in a setup role with Texas last year and will likely head into this season in the same spot, but he is a proven option if the Rangers need to replace expected closer Sam Dyson for one reason or another.
Jeffress tossed 1.1 scoreless innings in his return from the restricted list Monday. Jeffress' performance this week will likely determine if he'll be added to Texas' bullpen mix for the first round of the postseason that begins next week.
Jeffress (personal) was reinstated from the restricted list Friday. As expected, Jeffress rejoined the team Friday and is now officially back on the active roster. He spent close to a month in a rehabilitation clinic following a DWI arrest in August. It's uncertain if Jeffress will return to a high-leverage role right away or if the Rangers will ease him back into the later innings.
Jeffress has checked into a rehabilitation clinic and will not face an MLB suspension for his DWI arrest Friday, Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reports. Jeffress was given the option of treatment or a suspension, according to MLB Network Insider Jon Heyman, and he chose to seek outside assistance for his issues. He is expected to spend about a month in the clinic, which puts his availability for the rest of the regular season in doubt. Even if he does not pitch in September, however, he could rejoin the Rangers for the playoffs.