The Milwaukee Brewers have signed flame-throwing reliever Jeremy Jeffress to a minor league contract, according to MLB.com's Adam McCalvy. Jeff Passan was the first to report a possible deal.
Jeffress was DFA'd by the Blue Jays roughly two weeks ago, and after clearing waivers and being outrighted to Triple-A, the 26-year-old right-hander refused his assignment, electing to become a free agency instead. The Brewers were among a number of teams reported to be interested in Jeffress. Chris Cotillo had reported earlier today that up to 15 teams had been in contact with Jeffress, including the Cardinals and White Sox. Jeffress is represented by respected agent and Baseball Prospectus author Joshua Kusnick.
Jeffress' signing marks a return to the team that originally drafted him in the first round (16th overall) of the 2006 draft. Ranked as a top-100 prospect by Baseball Prospectus four times, Jeffress was converted to relief in 2010, and found himself throwing 10 innings with the big league club that season as a 22-year-old. That offseason, Jeffress was shipped to Kansas City as part of the Zack Greinke deal, but he has enjoyed little success since (4.47 career ERA, 1.32 K/BB), and was traded to the Blue Jays for cash in 2012.
Jeffress throws an electric fastball capable of reaching triple digits, but struggles mightily with his command, evidenced by a 6.5 career BB/9. He had allowed four runs in just 3.1 innings for Toronto this season prior to him being designated.
Jeffress, who suffers from juvenile epilepsy and severe anxiety, has had several run-ins with Major League Baseball regarding his marijuana use. He has been caught three times, and suspended twice, including a 100-game ban in 2009. As part of baseball's three strikes rule, Jeffress' next positive test would result in a lifetime ban. Fortunately for Jeffress, marijuana is not among the drugs tested at the major league level.