Jeffress signed a minor-league contract with the Nationals on Monday, Mark Feinsand of reports.

It's something of a surprise that the veteran righty had to settle for a minor-league deal, as his 1.54 ERA last season marked the second time in three years that he finished well below 2.00 in that category. His 17:12 K:BB in 23.1 innings suggests he got rather lucky, though his groundball-heavy profile means he's frequently outperformed the ERA estimators. The Nationals probably can't expect another season with an ERA quite so low, but it would be a surprise if Jeffress fails to emerge from camp with a spot on the big-league roster, assuming his stuff isn't diminished. The presence of Brad Hand means he doesn't have a clear path to add to his 52 career saves early on, though he could be one of the top alternatives should Hand get hurt or struggle.

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