There hasn’t yet been an announcement from the club, but CBSSports.com reported late last night that the Orioles have come to terms with right-handed pitcher Jair Jurrjens on a one-year major league contract that will pay him $1.5 million in guaranteed money and could earn him another $2.5 million in incentives.
Signing a pitcher that is still young (he turns 27 next Tuesday), went 13-6 with a 2.96 ERA for Atlanta in 2011 to make the All-Star team, and will be under team control for two more years sounds like a worthwhile risk of $1.5 million to me.
If he regains his 2011 form or even comes close, after going 3-4 with a 6.89 ERA in 11 games for Atlanta last season, the Orioles could have bought low and gotten a steal. Jurrjens was non-tendered by the Braves after making $5.5 million last season.
In a tweet from Jon Paul Morosi of FOXsports.com about two weeks ago, he wrote, “Jurrjens told me he’s already throwing bullpens & doing well physically.”
Some other Jurrjens notes:
* In nine career interleague starts, Jurrjens is 4-1 with a 1.32 ERA, a 1.060 WHIP and a 2.56 strikeout-to-walks ratio. On July 1, 2011, Jurrjens pitched a complete-game, one-hitter with eight strikeouts against the Orioles for his first big league shutout.
* Jurrjens is 32-19 with an ERA of 3.08 in his career in the first half and is 21-18 with an ERA of 4.29 after the All-Star break.
* According to Fangraphs, Jurrjens’ fastball velocity looks like this over the past three seasons: 2010 (91.3), 2011 (89.1) and 2012 (88.6).
* Jurrjens finished third in 2008 National League Rookie of the Year voting behind winner Geovany Soto of the Cubs and the Reds’ Joey Votto, who finished second. At age 22, Jurrjens went 13-10 with an ERA of 3.68 in 188 1/3 innings.
* Jurrjens had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in October 2009 and went on the disabled list with right knee pain on Aug. 6, 2011, retroactive to Aug. 2 and made just three starts the rest of that season.
* As of late last night, it’s not known if Jurrjens has any options remaining. He has been sent to the minors during the 2010, 2011 and 2012 seasons after pitching a combined 403 1/3 innings for the Braves during the 2008-09 seasons. But Jurrjens pitched just 13 innings in the minors in 2010 and just six in 2011. If you are not down in the minors for a certain length of time - believed to be 20 days - it’s possible an option was not used in one or both of those seasons. Also when sent to the minors on an injury-rehab assignment - if he was - an option is not used.
Updated: A league source did confirm that Jurrjens does have two options remaining.
What do you think of the O’s coming to terms with Jurrjens?
Another update: Baseball America is currently shipping its new Prospect Handbook to readers. Jim Callis of BA told me this afternoon that the Orioles are ranked 17th in their organizational rankings and that the rankings will be updated in the spring.