Orioles' reported signing of Jair Jurrjens would give club flexibility

January 25, 2013|By Eduardo A. Encina | The Baltimore Sun

One of the intriguing aspects to the Orioles’ signing of free agent right-hander Jair Jurrjens, which was reported Thursday night, is that he has minor league options remaining.

That means Jurrjens, who turns 27 next month, could start the season in Triple-A, so the club wouldn’t forced to put him on the big league roster this spring at the risk of losing him. He would be one of 11 possible starting rotation candidates this spring with the Orioles.

Jurrjens was sent to Triple-A Gwinnett last April after opening the season unable to get out of the fifth innning in three of his first four starts. He returned to the Braves in mid-June, but continued to struggle and found himself back in the minors come August. Jurrjens was 4-6 with a 4.98 ERA in 14 Triple-A starts.

Also, even though Jurrjens reportedly signed a one-year contract after being non-tendered by the Braves, the Orioles could retain him for the 2014 season if they want. Jurrjens, who has Super-2 arbitration status, is in the third year of four arbitration eligible seasons. So the Orioles could keep him for 2014 if they decide to tender him a contract.

Jurrjens has two minor league options remaning, so if the Orioles retained him for the 2014 season, they could send him to the minors then as well.

Jurrjens, who pitched to a 6.89 ERA last year with the Braves after making the NL All-Star team in 2011, failed to go more than five innings in eight of his 10 big league starts last season. But if he rebounds and finds the form of 2011, when he was 13-6 with a 2.96 ERA, the Orioles would have themselves a nice addition to their pitching staff.

Jurrjens reportedly will make $1.5 million in base salary in 2013 with an additional $2.5 million in incentives.

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