Jair Jurrjens Rumors
The latest links from around MLB...
- The Cubs, Diamondbacks and Rays are bidding for free agent infielder Jeff Keppinger even though he broke his leg, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports (Twitter links). The 32-year-old recently broke his right fibula, but hopes to be ready for action by mid-January. Clubs don’t consider the injury serious enough to stop pursuing Keppinger.
- MLB Network analyst Peter Gammons said on MLB Network’s Hot Stove show that Tigers owner Mike Ilitch spoke with agent Scott Boras about free agent closer Rafael Soriano yesterday (hat tip: Ken Rosenthal on Twitter).
- The Dodgers confirmed the promotions of several front office members, including Logan White and De Jon Watson, Ken Gurnick of MLB.com reports. White and Watson had been assistant GMs and are now vice presidents. They are both considered GM candidates within the industry.
- The Orioles aren’t expected to offer Mark Reynolds arbitration, but they’re trying to work out a new deal by Friday’s deadline for teams to tender contracts to arbitration eligible players, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com reports. MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes recently examined Reynolds as a non-tender candidate.
- Jair Jurrjens is expected to be non-tendered and Peter Moylan’s status as a non-tender candidate remains unclear, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (on Twitter).
Wednesday night linkage..
- Braves pitcher Jair Jurrjens is drawing some trade interest, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Jurrjens earned $5.5MM last season and could be a non-tender candidate for next season. While he finished the year healthy, he may not have a spot in Atlanta's deep rotation next year.
- Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey now sounds very optimistic about his future with the Mets, a marked change from his tone just a couple of months ago, tweets Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger.
- Shi Davidi of Sportsnet (via Twitter) hears that the Blue Jays may sign a second baseman in the next few days, though it's not clear who it might be.
- Dodgers GM Ned Colletti says that he is “probably unlikely” to trade for a starting pitcher this winter and might instead address that need in the free agent market, writes Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times. The Dodgers are looking to add a No. 2 or 3 pitcher to put alongside ace Clayton Kershaw.
- Earlier today, the Dodgers formally announced that they have hired Mark McGwire as their hitting coach. McGwire previously served as the Cardinals' hitting coach but hooked on with the Dodgers as he can now work closer to his home in Irvine, California.
- Shortstop Alex Gonzalez has hired Praver Shapiro Sports Management to represent him, according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. You can keep track of every player's representation with MLBTR's Agency Database.
- Rays pitcher Jeremy Hellickson interests the Cubs, but they don't have the trade chips to land him, Heyman tweets.
- The Red Sox announced that they have named Juan Nieves as their new pitching coach. Nieves spent the last 14 seasons in the White Sox organization and most recently served as their bullpen coach.
- Agent Joe Urbon told Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer (via Twitter) that outfielder Grady Sizemore plans to play in 2013. Indians GM Chris Antonetti has said that he is open to bringing Sizemore back, but for less than the $5MM he received last year.
- Mets assistant GM John Ricco says that the club won't rush to fill their void in the outfield, tweets Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. Instead, the Mets plan to let the market define itself first.
The Braves' season ended in a game that will be remembered for a controversial call last week, as did the likely Hall of Fame career of Chipper Jones. With a feeling that he could only describe as "emptiness," general manager Frank Wren talked with David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about the playoffs, his team's upcoming offseason and several of the decisions they'll have to make...
- Wren suggested that he's not a fan of the Wild Card format and that he'd like to see the system amended to give the Wild Card teams a three-game series, beginning with a day-night double-header.
- He also said that it's worth revisiting the trade deadline, which Wren feels is "pretty early for the current system." August 15 would be a more logical date for teams to determine whether or not they want to push for the Wild Card, in Wren's estimation.
- Wren says he's looking forward to a "focused" offseason. The front office recognizes that they have to replace Jones at third base, and they hope to retain Michael Bourn, whose contract expired at season's end. The team would like to address center field and the leadoff position in the same move -- a role which Bourn can obviously fill. The Braves contacted Bourn's representatives about an extension in Spring Training but were told to wait until after the season to engage in negotiations.
- Atlanta would love to have David Ross back in the fold in 2013. Wren spoke very highly of his backup catcher to O'Brien.
- The Braves chose not to have Brian McCann undergo an MRI with a dye injection during the season because the recovery is too long. McCann will undergo that test in the near future, which could reveal a need for surgery, but for the time being the Braves believe their catcher needs only rest to recover.
- Jason Heyward could handle center field "for a few days," but Wren and his associates don't view him as a long-term answer in center. Wren said he considers Heyward among the best defensive right fielders in the game and wouldn't want to diminish his defensive value by moving him.
- The Braves have options on McCann ($12MM), Tim Hudson ($8MM) and Paul Maholm ($6.5MM), and they'll address those decisions in the coming weeks.
- It would take a "very, very big piece" to trade Randall Delgado or Julio Teheran this winter. The trade market does figure to be in play for the Braves though, as Wren said he won't be "going outrageous salary-wise" on free agents. The team will be "looking for premium players," but Wren cautions they're not looking to add a player to the team as much as they are looking to add value. If they feel that adding two players can give them more than one premium name, they'll pursue that route instead.
- Jair Jurrjens' situation is different from Tommy Hanson's, in Wren's mind. Wren spoke more definitely of Hanson's future with the team than that of Jurrjens. The Braves "will have a determination" on Jurrjens' future this winter. Jurrjens earned $5.5MM in 2012 and is a non-tender candidate for 2013 in the mind of MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith.
- Wren confirmed that the entire coaching staff will be offered the opportunity to return to the team.
Before the season, we identified 11 players who were entering "make or break" years. These guys had experienced ups and downs in their respective careers and were positioned to re-establish themselves as difference makers at the Major League level and set themselves up for nice paydays in the future. Now that we're into August, let's take a second to check in each player (all links go to MLBTR posts)...
- Scott Baker, Twins -- Baker, 30, had elbow surgery in April and will miss the entire season. Minnesota will likely decline his $9.25MM option for 2013 (no buyout).
- Phil Hughes, Yankees -- The 26-year-old right-hander owns a 4.10 ERA in 131 2/3 innings this year, including a 3.40 ERA since mid-May. He's a safe bet to be tendered a contract for 2014, his final year as a arbitration-eligible player.
- Jair Jurrjens, Braves -- Jurrjens, 26, pitched so poorly earlier in the season that he had to be sent to the minors. He's since resurfaced and owns 6.89 ERA in 48 1/3 innings, cementing his status as a non-tender candidate.
- Adam Lind, Blue Jays -- Lind has battled back problems and also been demoted to Triple-A this season, and he's hit .227/.298/.394 while with the big league team. The 29-year-old continues to disappoint since signing his four-year, $18MM extension prior to 2010.
- Francisco Liriano, White Sox -- It's been another up and down season for the 28-year-old southpaw, who owns a 5.03 ERA in 111 innings. The Twins traded Liriano to the ChiSox at the deadline.
- James Loney, Dodgers -- Loney, now 28, hasn't helped himself at all this season, hitting just .251/.301/.330 in 327 plate appearances. He might have to settle for a minor league contract this coming offseason.
- Kendrys Morales, Angels -- The 29-year-old is hitting .282/.327/.455 with 14 homers on the year, well below the level he established prior to his leg injury in 2010. Morales figures to be both a trade and non-tender candidate after the season.
- Mike Pelfrey, Mets -- Pelfrey pitched to a 2.29 ERA in three starts before needing Tommy John surgery. The Mets are expected to non-tender the 28-year-old after the season.
- Geovany Soto, Rangers -- The 29-year-old backstop has continued to deal with injuries in 2012 and is hitting just .201/.289/.356. Soto is an obvious non-tender candidate.
- Kevin Youkilis, White Sox -- Youkilis lost his starting job with the Red Sox and was traded to the White Sox, who are likely to decline his $13MM option after the season. The 33-year-old has dealt with nagging injuries and is hitting .238/.339/.427 overall.
- Delmon Young, Tigers -- Young, 26, has had a below-average season at the plate (.266/.298/.402) and has dealt with some off-field problems. He hasn't helped his free agent stock any.
Jair Jurrjens entered the 2012 season with a career ERA of 3.40 and a sparkling 50-33 record. He had just obtained a substantial raise through the arbitration process and seemed to have established himself as an All-Star caliber pitcher.
But he has pitched ineffectively this season, struggling as a Braves starter and getting a demotion to the minor leagues. He’s now on the disabled list and he’s not getting any more affordable, so the Braves will have to consider removing him from their roster by the December deadline for tendering contracts to arbitration eligible players.
The Tigers signed Jurrjens back in 2003 and traded him and Gorkys Hernandez to Atlanta four years later for Edgar Renteria. In 2008, his first season with the Braves, Jurrjens started 31 games and finished third in the Rookie of the Year balloting. By 2009 he had reached the 200-inning plateau and posted a 2.60 ERA with twice as many strikeouts as walks. And in 2011, he made the National League All-Star team, posting a 2.96 ERA with 5.3 K/9, 2.6 BB/9 and a 42% ground ball rate in 152 innings.
Yet the 2012 season has consisted of one disappointment after another. Jurrjens struggled through four April starts and, after losing his rotation spot and being demoted to the minor leagues, posted a 5.18 ERA with 4.7 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 in ten forgettable starts at Triple-A. The Braves recalled him in late June, and he made seven more appearances before hitting the disabled list with a strained right groin. In total, he has a 6.89 ERA with about as many strikeouts (19) as walks (18) in 48 1/3 innings at the MLB level this year.
Given that stat line, it’s not surprising to learn that Jurrjens’ stuff appears to be in decline. His average fastball velocity has declined for the fifth consecutive season and now sits at 88.6 mph, according to FanGraphs. And among pitchers with at least 40 innings this year, only Burke Badenhop, Bartolo Colon and Aaron Cook generate a lower percentage of swings and misses than Jurrjens, who induces swinging strikes on fewer than five pitches for every 100 thrown (4.6%). Simply put, hitters aren’t have any trouble connecting with his offerings.
Jurrjens earns $5.5MM this year and is on track to go to arbitration for the third and final time this coming offseason. He projects to earn $5.9MM in 2013 if he continues pitching at the MLB level and the Braves tender him a contract, MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz estimates. That would be a major commitment for a player who might not even make the Braves’ 2013 rotation, so the possibility of a non-tender looms despite his past contributions.
Though Jurrjens seems headed for free agency this winter, another option exists. There could be a team looking for pitching -- the Royals, Rockies, Astros or Twins, perhaps -- that would be willing to take a chance on a 26-year-old one year removed from an All-Star season. The Braves, who were said to be willing to listen on Jurrjens last offseason, wouldn’t get much in return this time. But it’s a possibility general manager Frank Wren will surely consider if it would allow the Braves to obtain something of value in return.
Photo courtesy of US Presswire.
The battle for the top spot in the National League East has quickly become a two-horse race given how teams have fared since returning from the All-Star break. Swept by the Dodgers in a three-game series this weekend, the Mets are now one game under .500 after losing eight of their last nine contests. New York is left looking up at the Braves and Nationals, who split a four game series with Atlanta at home. Here's the latest news and happenings from around the division...
- The Marlins' Anibal Sanchez was being scouted today by the Tigers and Red Sox, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Sanchez took the loss against the Pirates but was impressive striking out eight while allowing only three runs in seven innings.
- The Pirates see Shane Victorino as a perfect fit for their outfield, but not until the Phillies drop their asking price dramatically, tweets Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
- The Braves continue to be one of the teams courting the Cubs' Ryan Dempster. ESPN's Buster Olney wonders if Jair Jurrjens' poor outing today (six runs allowed, including two home runs, in 2 1/3 innings) will spur more talk between the Braves and Cubs (via Twitter).
- The Mets will not become sellers at the trade deadline, despite their recent struggles, because they don't want to leave the clubhouse bare, tweets Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. Rubin adds the Mets could still be active at the deadline making lateral trades for MLB players under control in 2013 (via Twitter).
Daniel Seco contributed to this post.
The Marlins ended their franchise record offensive draught of scoring five runs or less for 25 consecutive games in their 9-0 win over the Blue Jays. And, for good measure, the nine runs were a season-high for the Marlins, who ended their six-game losing streak. Here's the latest news from around baseball.
- The Braves could make starting pitching a priority at the trade deadline because of the growing pains of Mike Minor and Randall Delgado and the uncertainty surrounding Jair Jurrjens, tweets Mark Bowman of MLB.com.
- The Pirates need to create an opening in their starting rotation when Jeff Karstens returns from the disabled list this week and Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review thinks a trade could create that opening (via Sulia). Biertempfel reported yesterday the Pirates are shopping Kevin Correia.
- With the Pirates looking for offensive help, the Denver Post's Troy Renck notes the Rockies have players available, including Marco Scutaro. In the same piece, Renck offers his suggestions on who the Rockies should play the rest of the way in 2012, so as to best prepare for 2013.
- The Nationals are not willing to pay a fine in order to exceed their draft bonus pool, writes Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. This is a corection to a story Kilgore wrote yesterday. Kilgore writes this stance will lower the amount the Nationals will be able to offer their first round draft pick Lucas Giolito.
- Condolences to the friends of family of Padres' bullpen coach Darrel Akerfelds, who lost his battle with pancreatic cancer today. He was 50.
It was on this day in 1869 that professional baseball had its first rainout, as a game between the Red Stockings and the Antioch Nine was postponed due to poor weather. While some teams can guarantee games will always be played thanks to retractable roofs or domed stadiums, the rainout is still a common element of baseball, welcomed by nobody except fans of the 1948 Boston Braves.
Some news from around the majors as we head into June...
- The Phillies and Cole Hamels haven't made any progress in contract negotiations, reports ESPN's Buster Olney. Some baseball executives expect Hamels to hit free agency this winter, with one NL official telling Olney, "Unless the Phillies give him one of the top deals in history, why wouldn't he test [the market]? He's so close to free agency."
- Roberto Hernandez could be back in the Major Leagues by the All-Star Break, reports Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Hernandez, a.k.a. Fausto Carmona, isn't expected to receive an eight-week suspension for identity fraud like Juan Carlos Oviedo, as his restructured contract with the Indians is expected to be seen as sufficient penalty.
- David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link) predicts Braves outfielder Michael Bourn will look for a five- or six-year contract with an average annual value of around $15MM when he hits free agency after this season. The Braves were known to be looking for young center field talent last winter since they weren't keen on paying Bourn such a large contract, though his strong performance thus far in 2012 could change the team's mind.
- Jair Jurrjens "is a guy that other clubs need to get back on," says a scout who has seen Jurrjens pitch in Triple-A, tweets Danny Knobler of CBS Sports. The Braves dangled Jurrjens as trade bait during the offseason, though if he really was back on form, you would think Atlanta would want him to help its own struggling pitching rotation. Jurrjens has a 4.85 ERA and a 2.63 K/BB ratio in six minor league starts this season, pitching very well in four outings but getting rocked in two others.
- "There might be no team further away from success than the Minnesota Twins," writes Jonah Keri for Grantland in a piece that outlines how the Twins have become one of baseball's worst clubs.
- Ernesto Frieri has been a boon to the Angels' bullpen, writes Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times. Since being acquired from the Padres four weeks ago, Frieri has yet to allow a run or even a hit in 12 innings for the Angels, though he has recorded 10 walks.
The Cubs are trying to break an 11-game losing streak, their longest in 15 years, as they take on the Pirates this afternoon at PNC Park. Manager Dale Sveum has changed closers, according to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. Sveum didn't reveal who would replace Rafael Dolis if a save opportunity presents itself, but Sullivan writes he did mention James Russell and Casey Coleman.
Here are some more links on this Sunday before Memorial Day.
- MLB.com's Mark Bowman tweets the Braves may be looking for starting pitching because of the struggles of Mike Minor and Jair Jurrjens. Bowman cautions money will be an issue.
- Manager Bud Black told reporters including Bill Center of the San Diego Union Tribune that Carlos Quentin could make his Padres debut this week when the team travels to Chicago. Quentin has yet to play this season because of knee surgery performed in March.
- Chase Utley also hasn't seen action in 2012 because of a knee injury. Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com writes Utley is feeling better but there is still no timetable for his minor league rehab. Salisbury points out Utley has been working in left field to ease the strain on his knees and to work on his agility.
- Kevin Mulvey has retired, reports ESPN New York's Adam Rubin. Mulvey had been pitching in relief with the Mets' Double-A affiliate. Mulvey was part of the Johan Santana trade and rejoined the Mets late in spring training after being released by the Diamondbacks.
Here are some links from around the league as Tuesday turns into Wednesday...
- "We’re open-minded and we’re seriously considering it," said Padres interim CEO Tom Garfinkel to Bill Center of The San Diego Union-Tribune when asked about moving the fences in at Petco Park. “We’d have to submit plans by the end of the season," he added. "I don’t think a final decision needs to be made until October."
- The Braves were close to trading Jair Jurrjens and Jairo Asencio to the Reds for Chris Heisey and Juan Francisco this offseason, reports MLB.com's Mark Bowman. Jurrjens is a potential non-tender candidate after being sent to the minors this week.
- The Angels' first pick in this summer's draft with be #114 overall, writes Lance Pugmire of The Los Angeles Times. Anaheim surrendered their first and second rounders to sign Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson respectively.
- ESPN's Keith Law conducted a 2002 redraft with the benefit of hindsight. Curtis Granderson, Brian McCann, and Cole Hamels were his new top three picks. Bryan Bullington, B.J. Upton, and Chris Gruler were the actual top three picks that year.