The Nationals have several spots to fill, a solid chunk of money to possibly do it with and lots of quality options to choose from.
The free agent list this year is not about superstar names. Rather, it’s about depth and quality. Even the second tier of free agents holds value, especially if their contracts are brief and costs suppressed by a mediocre market.
As part of our ongoing look at individuals who could fit in different places for the Nationals, here is a look at former Milwaukee reliever Jeremy Jeffress.
What he does well: Discovering a new way to pick up outs. Jeffress added a split-finger pitch in 2018 while with Milwaukee. Opponents hit .152 and slugged .182 against it in 2020. He graduated from fastball-curveball to the three-pitch mix. Pitchers tinker with grips and pitch action all the time. Jeffress embraced the split-finger when former teammate Junior Guerra showed him how to grip it. After years of practice, he began to use it in games.
Where he fits with the Nationals: Jeffress fits because he is a reliable reliever with a 3.08 career ERA. His walk rate is the lone ding against him. Otherwise, he is exceedingly difficult to hit, especially for right-handed hitters. They have a .338 slugging percentage against him for his career. The Nationals need left-handed and right-handed bullpen help. Jeffress, 33, would be a solid addition to their core group of Daniel Hudson, Tanner Rainey and Will Harris.
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