Reds To Sign Jair Jurrjens

4:30pm: Jurrjens would earn a $800K annual rate should he crack the big league roster, tweets Jon Heyman of

7:38am: The Reds have agreed to to a minor league contract with free agent right-hander Jair Jurrjens, reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today (on Twitter). The Scott Boras client was said recently to be eyeing a comeback after undergoing knee surgery last fall.

It’s been a rapid decline for Jurrjens, who is still just 28 years of age. The Curacao native was dominant for the Braves in 2011, posting a 2.38 ERA through his first 19 starts of the season. He suffered a knee injury shortly thereafter and would make only four more starts in 2011, allowing 16 runs in 23 1/3 innings.

It’s been downhill for Jurrjens since that time, as he’s posted a 6.63 ERA in 55 2/3 innings since and has undergone multiple knee surgeries as he attempts to revive his once-promising career. While his brilliant 2011 campaign was likely aided by a deflated batting average on balls in play (.267) and an elevated strand rate (81 percent), he still had the makings of a solid big league starting pitcher in his first four seasons with Atlanta.

Jurrjens spent much of last season in Triple-A with the Orioles and Tigers (the organization which originally signed him), pitching to a 4.57 ERA with 5.1 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 in 134 innings. He’ll serve as additional rotation depth for the Reds, who also have Chien-Ming Wang in their Triple-A rotation. Jeff Francis also occupied a role with that team until he was claimed off waivers by the Athletics this past weekend. Cincinnati has been without Mat Latos all season, but Alfredo Simon has surprisingly stepped up and filled that role masterfully, pitching to a 2.45 ERA in 51 1/3 innings out of the rotation.

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