Relief pitcher Jeremy Jeffress has been out of baseball since his release from the Washington Nationals in March.
Before his initial release, Jeffress and the Nationals had agreed to a minor league contract ahead of spring training. The team informed him that he would be allowed to compete for a spot in the bullpen ahead of Opening Day.
To his surprise, the Nat’s relieved him of his duties after only 13 days of service, which raised eyebrows across the league. Fans and pundits wanted to know the reasoning behind the quick release as the start of the season was less than a month away.
After displaying such dominance with the Chicago Cubs, in 2020, the 33-year-old right-hand reliever had teams vying for his services in the offseason.
Saving eight games for the Cubs, he finished the pandemic shortened season with an ERA of 1.54 in 23 1/3 innings pitched. You can’t have talent like that sitting on the sidelines. No way.
His time in the Nation’s Capital is still head-scratching for most, like the opportunity to showcase his talents became null and void in the blink of an eye.
Could the incidents in his dark checkered past have come to light?
After achieving every baseball player’s dream of being drafted to the league in 2006, Jeffress has found himself in multiple run-ins with the law.
According to reports, he received suspensions for violating Minor League Baseball’s substance abuse policy in 2007, causing him to serve 50 games. He served 100 games in 2009 for the same offense. Both incidents did not involve performance-enhancing drugs.
During his time with the Kansas City Royals, authorities received a call for domestic violence, disorderly conduct, assault, and criminal damage from his then-girlfriend as both parties engaged in an argument that escalated. The plaintiff later dropped all the charges for this incident.
In 2018 Jeffress pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated during his stint with the Texas Rangers during the 2016 season. He received a sentence of three days in jail, in which he received credit for time served.
In July of the same year, Jeffress made his first career All-Star team. While living up to the nickname Bread & Butter, he served up cats as he achieved an ERA of 0,99 while also adding a 0.84 WHIP in 44 mound appearances.
Jeffress told MLB.com about the accomplishment, “It just means that I know I can overcome anything that I go through because I have been through so much. To start the year with a great first half, and to be in this moment right now, and words can’t express how I feel.”
He went on to say, “All the guys believed in me, and they knew from the first day that the results came out that I should have been on there. It is the fact that they stuck behind me. Just kept believing in me and kept giving me advice saying, ‘Continue doing what you are doing, and people will notice your ability.”
And notice is what Washington did when they signed Jeffress this offseason. The organization knew of his past and still gave him a contract.
Front Office Executive/General Manager Mike Rizzo spoke on the situation by providing a very indeterminate response for the quick release by saying it was due to a “personal matter.”
Jeffress took to Twitter to express his frustration over the situation while also pointing the blame at his former agent when he said, “The fact that my ex-agent has ruined my chances on playing this season is killing me. I want to sign with anyone but going home would be a blessing.”
Home for what I believe should be the Milwaukee Brewers as this is the franchise Jeffress had his best years with. With the Brew Crew, his career ERA is 2.66 and 4.76 everywhere else.
We understand that the Brewers have the reigning National League Rookie of the year/National League Reliever of the year award winner Devin Williams. Still, you can never have too much of a good thing, and looking at the numbers, Jeffress would be a perfect fit to get them over the hump.
All Betts Are Off For LA Outfielder As Slump Continues
Mookie Betts’ numbers do not resemble those from years past, and his struggles are becoming more noticeable. This season through 45 games, Betts is batting .247 with 44 hits, 18 RBIs, and 27 runs.
Seems like good numbers, right?
Well not if you are familiar with the back of this former MVP’s baseball card.
Betts led the Dodgers to their first World Series Championship in 32 years during the 2020 pandemic-shortened season, where he batted .292 with 64 hits, 47 runs, and 39 RBIs in only 55 games.
His success garnered him a second-place finish in the National League MVP race, while also earning him a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger award. Don’t forget his elite performance against the Tampa Bay Rays, where he homered to open the series in Game 1 and to close the series in Game 6.
It’s still early in the season, but Betts is moving past the slow start zone into “down year” territory.
Fans point to his new vegan diet as the culprit to his struggles.
For those clamoring for an explanation, blame it on father time.
Betts appeared in 145 or more games in four of his previous five seasons. That’s called wear and tear on the body. Adding insult to injury is just that, injuries!
In April, he missed four games due to back discomfort. Then he took an upper 90s mile per hour fastball to the inside of his elbow, which left him writhing in pain.
Don’t forget about the unfortunate two-ball tag that left men cringing across the globe.
Over the weekend, Betts missed two of three games due to discomfort in his left shoulder, which he later confirmed after telling the media that the injury has been bothering him throughout the month of May, but that is not the reason for his poor performance as sometimes you do not play well.
He told the Los Angeles Times, “I have shown that I can play at those high expectations and live by them. I am not mad at it by any means, as I do not mind expectations. It does not scare me at all.”
Billy Hamilton Showing That His Wheels & Wood Are Still Active
Billy The Slid put on a show this past weekend as he hit home runs in consecutive games to help his Chicago White Sox sweep the Baltimore Orioles.
After flexing his newfound power, the grizzled young veteran displayed his wheels in childlike fashion Tuesday night, with an inside-the-park home run.
However, you word the play, it was still impressive.
The guy has always been the prototypical centerfielder whose speed can cover all sorts of range while also going from base to base in a millisecond. Problem is, he couldn’t reach base.
Baseball insiders have always created the narrative that if Hamilton could figure it out at the plate and get on base more, he would take his current team to the next level and his performance is proving everyone right as the Chicago White Sox are leading the American League Central Division at 33-22.
Hamilton’s resurgence has contributed to his changed persona as he is going from “Billy the blur” to “Billy bats” through two months of play. If he can keep this production up, then those dreams of bringing another World Series Championship to the Southside of Chicago will soon come to fruition.
Roman Quinn Out For The Season With Ruptured Achilles
Philadelphia Phillies Outfielder Roman Quinn will undergo surgery this week on his left Achilles tendon. His expected recovery time ranges from nine to 12 months per source.
It seems the 28-year-old suffered the apparent injury as he was rounding third base. After falling to the ground, he showed the heart of a champion by hopping on one leg to score the tying run on May 29 vs. the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.
With a skillset predicated on speed and agility, seeing him go down in that manner is heartbreaking as this is the second time he has suffered an Achilles tear, with the first tear taking place on his right side back in 2013.
His injury history, including both Achilles, reads like a laundry list.
He had a torn quad, a torn ligament in his middle finger, a finger contusion, a strained ligament in his elbow, an oblique strain, a groin strain, a broken toe, and a concussion, to name a few.
The speedy switch hitter through 28 games was averaging .173 with four stolen bases and two RBIs. In 512 career plate appearances, he is batting.228/,306/.355.
While wishing you a speedy recovery, we at MLBbro.com look forward to seeing Quinn back on the diamond in no time.
The Pirates’ organization has been monitoring his progress, and they’ve liked what they have seen thus far, hence the early return.
Cherington told MLB.com, “Once we got as far out from the injury as we have, and it’s going to be two months or whatever, we just felt like we really needed to have almost a spring training progression.”
He added, “The last thing we wanted to do was sort of rush him back, and then something else happens because his body was just not ready.”
Cole Tucker, a close friend and teammate, said he is excited for his buddy to be back alongside himself as he spoke on the importance of his close friends’ return.
“I know the first two months of this season haven’t gone how he or anyone pictured, but he’s in a good spot, and he’s in a good headspace,” Tucker told MLB.com.
The hesitancy about the 24-year-old’s progress is valid as the Pirates have seen this since the initial wrist injury took place on April 4. Before the long-term IL designation, Pittsburgh placed KB on the 10-day injury list.
Hayes showed signs of recovery before suffering a setback after a cumbersome swing against celebrity competition in a centralized location in Detroit. After the incident, Hayes faced live at-bats with teammates before suffering more malaise in his wrist and hand.
Before starting the season, Hayes led the charge as the preseason favorite for the National League Rookie of the Year Award due to his hot finish of the pandemic-shortened season.
In 24 games, he batted .376 with 14 extra-base hits, 11 runs batted in, and five home runs. He also had a .442 on-base percentage, and a .682 slugging percentage with a 1.124 on-base plus slugging percentage.
Losers of seven of their last 10 games, the Bucs first two months of the season has them sputtering in the National League Central Division with a 20-32 record. So, the return of the franchise player could bring a much-needed spark at the plate and the field.
Baseball fans and enthusiasts are hoping a setback doesn’t occur for Hayes as the league and the team needs star players to move the game forward.
Look for Hayes to make his return Thursday as the Pirates host Jazz Chisholm and his Miami Marlins at PNC Park at 7:05 P.M. ET.