Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Jeremy Jeffress' Future in Toronto,Featuring an Interview with His Agent

Last Thursday, the day Alex Anthopolous gave out the longest and largest guaranteed Free Agent contract in his tenure as GM to Maicer Izturis (doesn't seem like so much now, does it), and he also acquired RHP Jeremy Jeffress from the Royals for cash. His agent, Joshua Kusnick contacted me, and I ended up having the opportunity to talk to and interview him last Friday (as did BlueBirdBanter, so check out their interview as well), and wanted to share it with you guys. I'm also going to be writing a little bit about what he said, so it wont just be transcript like what was done at BBB(I believe the Fan590 also conducted one, but I'm not sure about that). I haven't had time to write something up before this, because I was busy over the weekend, and then the Jays became contenders and such, so that's why it took so long to get this posted.

As you all probably know by now, Jeremy was caught 3 times while in the minors for marijuana, resulting in 2 suspensions. I asked Joshua if it is still a concern that Jeremy might start using again, and he said...
"We aren't worried.He is way past that, and now that he is on the MLB roster, he cannot get suspended for using(he later clarified saying that it is a nice thing to have to fall back on in case of a relapse, but he won't do it again just because he cannot get in trouble for it). Jeremy is regularly tested, and thank God, he has beaten the issue, and hopefully will continue on this track."
Well that sounds good. He has a reason not to do it because of the regular testing he receives, so I'd be shocked if Jeremy doesn't stay clean. And, if Jeremy is clean, the greater the chance of him becoming a star reliever for the Jays becomes. Then, about the control issues Jeremy has had, Joshua told me some intriguing stuff.
"He has definitely had control issues throughout his career. But, he has been a thrower for most of that career. Now, he learning to pitch. He is maturing, and by maturing, he is getting his command in check. Jeremy is learning that if he slows down his pitches a little bit, he can have that control that he needs. The Blue Jays have done this with Brandon Morrow, Sergio Santos, and many others, so hopefully it will work with Jeremy."

Everything Joshua said there is correct, as Jeremy's velocity dropped 2.2 MPH(4-seamer) from 2011 to 2012. So, if you thought Jeremy's arm wearing out is the issue in his decreased velocity, it isn't apparently. This is awesome news, as we have seen the effects of maturity on Brandon Morrow, and I'm sure Jeremy will be able to follow in Brandon's, and so many other flamethrower's footsteps. Next up, Jeremy seems pretty psyched to be joining the Jays...
"He's excited to be a Blue Jays. Toronto is close to his home and his family in Virginia. Being in the AL East, his family will be able to watch him pitch a lot because the Jays play Baltimore,New York and Boston, so much, so he is happy about that."
Okay. Jeremy also told BBB that he has a lot of friends on the Jays, so that can't be a bad thing. Hopefully playing for the Jays is his "Dream Job".  And, on to what will be the actual lengthy part of this article...
"I heard the number was higher than $20,000(the amount of cash the Jays paid to the Royals for Jeremy). I heard it was more in the $200,000 range. I'm friends with Andrew Tinnish(Jays AGM), Jay Sartori(another Jays AGM), and they are ecstatic about this trade. I have a good relationship with the Jays. David Herndon was claimed by the Jays a couple of weeks ago, and I talked with them about Jeremy Jeffress. I don't think it really influenced them to make this trade, but who knows. Herndon was going to be in AAA for the Jays, but the Yankees want him in the MLB. I expect Jeremy to be on the MLB roster in April, because he is out of options, and because the potential that he possesses."
The Jays bullpen is pretty packed, and now that it seems like Darren Oliver will be returning, there isn't much room for Jeremy. The bullpen currently projects to be: Casey Janssen,Sergio Santos, Brad Lincoln, Steve Delabar, Darren Oliver, Esmil Rogers, and Brett Cecil. I want to put Aaron Loup there, but because he has options, I don't think he gets put on the team, because Rogers and Cecil both are out of options. That doesn't leave a lot of room for Jeffress, and unless a trade is made, I find it hard to believe that all 3 of Rogers,Cecil, and Jeffress will be put on the 25 man roster.  But, saying that, I fully expect a trade to be made, and come March, I highly doubt Casey Janssen is on this team. His value is at the highest it'll ever be, and packaging him with JPA will bring back the Jays something nice.

Hope you enjoyed. Leave your comments below.

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