The Baltimore Orioles have signed free agent pitcher Jair Jurrjens to a one-year contract, reportedly worth $1.5 million. Jurrjens, formerly of the Atlanta Braves, could make up to $4 million with the various incentives that are reported to be in the contract. Jurrjens was non-tendered by Atlanta after a lackluster 2012 season in which he posted a 6.89 ERA. In fairness, he also had injury problems in the second half of the year, which probably added to his ineptitude. Jurrjens was an all-star in 2011 when he posted a 2.96 ERA.
This move doesn’t come without risk for the Orioles, as Jurrjens struggled last season. However if he was somehow able to regain his form from 2011, he would really be an asset to the Orioles’ pitching staff. The injury bug is certainly a concern for Jurrjens, and the Orioles will want to be very careful with him moving forward. However this is a move that isn’t really costing the Orioles too much money, and it’s a low risk given that it’s a one-year contract.
This could be a case of Dan Duquette being able to have his cake and eat it too. Jurrjens (and Martin Pardo, who was traded to Arizona yesterday) was to be the centerpiece of a trade last off season that would have sent Adam Jones to Atlanta. Ultimately that trade didn’t happen, Jones signed an extension long-term in Baltimore, and now Jurrjens ends up in Baltimore anyways. The Orioles had been looking for a veteran starting pitcher, and they were interested in bringing Joe Saunders back. It’s unclear whether or not that’s something that’s still on the table or not for the Birds. Furthermore, it could also allow the Orioles to be more flexible to deal a young pitcher or two perhaps for some offensive power. Whether or not that happens remains to be seen, but the only thing we can definitively say is that Mr. Jurrjens is coming to Baltimore.