Jeremy Jeffress has played for three other teams since being drafted by the Brewers in 2006, but he has twice returned to Milwaukee, most recently in 2017, when he was acquired from the Rangers at the trade deadline just one year after being sent to Texas. Jeffress was barely a replacement-level pitcher with the Rangers last season, but he was serviceable for the Brewers, earning four wins, recording four holds and even starting two times over 22 appearances with the team. He will remain with the Brewers for another year, which is no surprise given that over five seasons with the club he has posted a 2.56 ERA -- by far his best mark with any team. While he pitched better in the second half last year, he still posted a 1.58 WHIP with the Brewers and a 1.64 WHIP for the entire season, so it's unlikely he will head into 2018 in a high-leverage role.
Jeffress agreed to a deal with the Brewers on Friday, avoiding arbitration, Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. Jeffress will return to the Brewers after spending the last two months of 2017 with the team following his trade from Texas. During 61 games between the two clubs, he posted a 4.68 ERA and 1.64 WHIP, while sporting a 51:34 K:BB over 65.1 innings. Although Jeffress won't return to the ninth-inning role that he's had in the past, he should still be a key contributor out of Milwaukee's bullpen.
Jeffress gave up two runs on four hits over two innings in Friday's 10-2 win over the Marlins, but he did not factor into the decision. Making a rare start out of necessity, Jeffress was the only Brewer to get touched up for runs on a bullpen day. The right-hander threw only 31 pitches (23 strikes), so he shouldn't need more than a couple of days rest before being available in middle relief once again.
Jeffress will be the spot starter for Milwaukee against the Marlins on Friday. Jeffress is set to make his first major-league start -- his first professionally since making a Double-A start in 2011 -- which will end up being a lengthy bullpen day for the Brewers. The right-hander isn't expected to throw more than 50 pitches before turning it over to another relief arm. His longest outing this season came in early August when he lasted 46 pitches (2.1 innings) against the Reds. Over the course of this year, Jeffress has posted a 4.55 ERA and 1.57 WHIP in 57.1 innings.
Jeffress may start Friday's game against the Marlins, Adam McCalvy of MLB.com reports. Manager Craig Counsell hasn't officially named a starter, but Eric Thames let it slip that Jeffress may be first out of the gates in what is expected to be a bullpen game for the Brewers. He owns a 2.70 ERA and 16:11 K:BB in 16.2 innings since joining Milwaukee at the trade deadline. He'll likely top out around 50 pitches Friday.
Jeffress was traded to the Brewers on Monday for minor-league RHP Tayler Scott, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports. Jeffress will return to the Brewers after being traded to the Rangers alongside Jonathan Lucroy just last season. The 29-year-old has struggled to a 5.31 ERA and 1.67 WHIP through 40.2 innings of relief this season, but he'll add some much needed depth to a weak Milwaukee bullpen. He posted a 2.22 ERA through 44.2 innings with the Brew Crew last season before being traded, so he'll look to return to that form as he rejoins the team that drafted him in the first round in 2006.