Jeffress only signed his minor league contract with the Nats back on February 22, and would have earned at least $1.25MM in guaranteed salary had he made Washington’s MLB roster. While the timing of the release is somewhat unusual, it could be that the Nationals made a quick decision on Jeffress and simply chose to cut him now rather than prolonging his stay in camp. Jeffress may also now get something of an early jump on catching on with another team, though several other veteran relief pitchers are still available.
Looking to pitch in his 12th Major League season, Jeffress posted a 1.54 ERA over 23 1/3 innings with the Cubs last season, though numerous advanced metrics (ranging from a 4.96 SIERA to a .161 BABIP) indicated that a lot of good fortune went into Jeffress’ sterling ERA. It was something of a reversal of his 2019 season, as the secondary statistics indicated that Jeffress pitched better than his 5.02 ERA over 52 innings with the Brewers.
Jeffress has a career 3.08 ERA and 56.6% grounder rate over 424 1/3 career frames with five different clubs, with the majority (304 2/3 IP) of that work over parts of seven seasons with Milwaukee. Reports back in January indicated that multiple clubs were considering Jeffress, so one of those teams could again come calling with a minor league deal now that the 33-year-old is back on the market.