Last week, the Baltimore Orioles signed another pitcher; however, it was not a name that I even had on my radar.
Then again, there were rumors about a few years ago concerning Jair Jurrjens donning the black and the orange. Back then, he was a young pitcher who looked to be on the cusp of greatness; however, injury, setbacks and struggles on the mound have lowered his value.
That led to Jurrjens being non-tenured by the Atlanta Braves in the off-season. Now, the Orioles and Dan Duquette are looking to again take on a low-risk, high-reward type of player.
From the Baltimore Sun: The former Atlanta Braves right-hander — who agreed to terms with the Orioles on a one-year deal this week — said he feels healthy for the first time in years. And he hopes to recapture the promise that made him one of the game’s top up-and-coming pitchers.
Adding Jurrjens will give the Orioles more organizational depth. He can be sent to the minors this season, and the Orioles can retain him for 2014, which will be his final year of arbitration eligibility.
Jurrjens was 12-3 with a 1.87 ERA in the first half of the 2011 season and was selected to the National League All-Star team. But knee problems plagued him in the second half of that season. Jurrjens had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee to repair a torn meniscus after the 2010 season.
He spent a majority of last season in the minors, sent to Triple-A Gwinnett after he was unable to get out of the fifth inning in three of his first four starts. He rejoined the Braves in mid-June, but returned to Triple-A in August. He made just 11 major league appearances in 2012, going 3-4. His average fastball velocity, which was 88.6 mph last season, dropped 2.5 mph since the 2010 season.
If Jurrjens is healthy and shows any of the ability he had in Atlanta, then this deal will be a steal for the Orioles. However, I am a bit concerned about his numbers during the 2012 season, but who knows if he suffered through injuries, or whatever else.
He will have a lot of competition heading into Spring Training with the Orioles.
Then again, what does this mean for Joe Saunders? Can one say the pursuit of him is over?
Plus, will the Orioles get another starter anyway just to improve a deep pitching staff?