General manager Mike Rizzo knows more than anybody, a team can never have enough healthy arms come baseball season. For years now he has stockpiled arms for the Washington Nationals, especially for the bullpen. The same can be said about the 2021 season, though the one difference, on paper these arms show the team will have more quality depth than previous years.
Prior to the day, the Nationals had a whopping 39 pitchers in camp. Add one more to the list. Jeremy Jeffress has agreed to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. The hard throwing right hander may have a leg up on making the big club, if he does, he’ll be paid $1.25M. Both Rizzo and manager Davey Martinez have to like his experience and productivity in high leverage situations.
The Nationals continue to strengthen their bullpen by adding Jeremy Jeffress on a minor league contract.
Jeffress has been around. A veteran of five major league teams, he has pitched in parts of eleven seasons at the big league level. Most recently he suited up for the Chicago Cubs, though was an All-Star with the Milwaukee Brewers prior to that.
Each year the Nationals seem to target the bullpen for upgrades and they have brought in some solid help this year as well. Left handers Sam Clay and T.J. McFarland are both ground ball pitchers who both figure to see time this year (McFarland is on a minor league contract). Brad Hand was brought in to handle the closing duties.
Others such as Luis Avilan, Javy Guerra, Aaron Barrett, and Jerry Rodriguez are also on minor league contracts and have plenty of experience if needed. A year ago, five players made their pitching debut for the Nationals. Ineffectiveness happens, though a team can never account for injury. Making sure the cupboards are stocked with reliable arms is a must in baseball. With the veteran arms in camp the Nationals may be able to avoid throwing untested, young, pitchers on the mound.
Aside from being a hard throwing right hander, Jeffress comes with a little flavor as well. During the shutdown last year he was busy running his food truck. There is going to be a competition for spots this spring training. Expect Jeffress to come gunning for a job.