The Nationals’ release of Jeremy Jeffress yesterday carried some mystery, both because it came so early in Spring Training (and within three weeks of Jeffress signing with the Nats) and because GM Mike Rizzo used the odd phrasing of describing the release as due to “personnel reasons.” Rizzo didn’t provide much further clarification in speaking with Mark Zuckerman of MASNsports.com and other reporters today, apart from saying that Jeffress’ release was “an employment issue” and not related to on-field performance.
Jeffress himself has weighed in, texting Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post to say that the Nationals’ given reason for releasing him was “not true,” without specifying what the club said. The veteran reliever also wrote a pair of tweets yesterday, one stating “I’m not what they say I am, I’m what God says! I don’t deserve this false negativity!” and another since-deleted tweet saying that his former agent “jus ruined my life.” It remains to be seen if the reason behind Jeffress’ release will ever fully come to light, but if nothing else, this uncertain situation would seem to hamper Jeffress’ chances of catching on with another team.
More from the National League…
- “Catcher/center fielder” isn’t exactly a common defensive skillset, and while Daulton Varsho saw more time in the outfield than he did behind the plate in his rookie season, the Diamondbacks are clear about their top prospect’s future role. “We see him as a catcher who can play other positions, not as a center fielder who can catch,” Arizona assistant general manager Amiel Sawdaye told The Athletic’s Zach Buchanan. Varsho is happy to play wherever, and the outfield might be his clearest path to more MLB playing time in 2021, considering the D’Backs have Carson Kelly and Stephen Vogt as their regular catching duo. The team doesn’t want to take too much time away from Varsho’s development as a catcher, however, given the amount of specialized work that goes into learning the position at the big-league level.
- The Phillies also face a question about how to deploy a top prospect, as Spencer Howard has never thrown more than 112 innings in any of his four pro seasons. As Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes, the Phils could start Howard in the minors since rotation space could be hard to find, or they could manage his innings throughout the season in a relief role on the MLB roster. The latter option would leave the door open to Howard eventually making some starts in 2021, though it would require the Phillies to also keep Howard stretched out in something of a swingman role so he could more easily shift into working as a starting pitcher. A second-round pick for the Phillies in the 2017 draft, Howard’s minor league climb was slowed by some shoulder problems in 2019, and he has yet to pitch at Triple-A ball. Philadelphia promoted Howard to the majors last summer after watching him at the alternate training site, and Howard posted a 5.92 ERA over 24 1/3 innings and six starts.
Perhaps rumors of DV, spread by his former agent? He did have a prior incident years back.
Perhaps. False or true, the only “negativity” released so far is by Jeffress himself.
you dont know if there is something we dont know about
Probably because it’s none of our business. The Nationals have chosen to keep this internal. Jeffress is the one who tweeted about negativity. He then thought better of it and deleted it.
Fans don’t need to know everything.
The Braves have Alex Jackson. He was drafted very high as a centerfielder and now primarily plays catcher. A lot of people think he will win the main back up position behind Travis d’Arnaud. He has played both centerfield and catcher at the major league level with the Braves recently.
Catcher/Centerfielder. Trying to think of another one. That’s a valuable combination in this era of 13-man pitching staffs.
The Reds have Kyle Farmer playing SS-C…another rare & valuable combination.
Having 13 man pitching staffs doesn’t really affect how many position players can be carried because the rosters are at 26 now, not 25
He’s certainly not helping himself, that’s for sure, but neither did Rizzo with the odd wording. And his former agent is throwing fuel on the fire with cryptic responses. This keeps up, we’ll have a Netflix mini-series.
Guy who made $13M playing a game.
“Just ruined my life”
Now THERE is some privilege, arrogance and fragility.
Hosmer for HOF
Lol you mean some drugs. At least I hope so for characters sake, one off emotional tweet when he was smoking the ganj/drunk vs lifelong character traits.. I’d take the prior
None of us know what happened. Therefore none of us know if “there is some privilege, arrogance and fragility” or not.
We know everything. We are the inhabitants of the MLBTR comments section!
It’s 2021, actually knowing someone’s situation is no longer a requirement to declare they have privilege(s)?
Jeffress probably didn’t get along with his coaches or teammates and that happens in all of sports.
Maybe he pulled a Willie “Mays” Hayes and just invited himself to Nationals camp
Rizzo showed up a week later looking for the Penske file.
Jeffress isn’t Penske material
He did put the files in an accordion folder. Perhaps he should have looked downtown, it’s all downtown.
His former agent is a nutjob. Just look at the dude’s twitter. He was also banned by brewerfan.net, which is not an easy feat as they are a very laid back crew.
His agent is visiting fans sites? That’s weird. And getting banned. Double weird.
Agree w/ this. Saw vids on his account that were also odd for an agent. JJ is usually low key on Twitter, so tend to believe him over the agent.
The Phillies should start Spencer Howard in AAA to start the season. It was evident in his MLB work that he could use more seasoning. I don’t see how facing an increased level of talent over AA and working on development hurts either Howard or the Phillies.
After all, he’d be the first one called up when that inevitable first injury happens to a starter.
Agreed. Don’t over think this. Howard needs to prove he is a starting pitcher…even to himself.
This is always fun. We have writers screaming that a bunch of 20 year old kids should get promoted to kick-start their service clock.
Then we have fans that watch games, and are knowledgeable, looking at players that are 22-23-24, and realizing that they need more seasoning.
The Jeffress deal is intriguing because we are so used to having instant information. Whatever it is or isn’t will eventually work itself out. Just hopefully nobody was hurt.
I’d have to agree. Too much stuff comes out in the public eye that really shouldn’t. More often than not, it tends to damage both parties.
Plenty of MLB people know this guy; 5 teams in parts of 11 seasons. What’s the deal?
Upon hearing these vague details, and player dismissals are never described this way in MLB Land, it is human nature to ever so briefly lift one’s eyes from one’s phone to express wonder.
I’m doing that now.
Has had substance abuse problems in the past. And a not long ago DUI with Texas. DV no charges filed many years ago. Also confirmed brain trauma injury as a juvenile. Roll this together and figure he was probably out of sorts for one reason or another in camp and Rizzo might’ve asked his former agent about him.
As far as performance goes is about the same as Jon Lester. 90 at the bottom of the zone to get people out . Thats pretty much all either one of them have left. He was extremely lucky last year. I have no idea how much a full pension is but he’s got 11 years so he’s qualified. He has a food truck. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him on the southside of Chicago or up in Milwaukee driving around serving food.
I had to google this, that’s a cool looking food truck.
Phils might consider piggybacking Velasquez and Howard. Vince is best if he doesn’t have to go through the lineup 3 times. He’ll never be a guy that consistently gives you 6 innings, so why not just back him up with another starter? The two of them go 7 or 8 combined, saving the bullpen.
Agreed, move VV to the bullpen and let him throw gas for 1 or 2 innings.
Cubs sign him to a minor deal he was are best last season