Jurrjens signing could be big for Orioles

Jurrjens signing could be big for Orioles
January 25, 2013, 12:45 pm
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The Orioles aren’t set to officially announce Jair Jurrjens’ signing until perhaps Monday.

It’s an interesting signing because he’s had injuries to the groin and knee, but at 27, doesn’t seem to have arm, shoulder or elbow issues.

Jurrjens hasn’t been healthy for some time.

At the All-Star break in 2011, Jurrjens had a 12-3 record with a sparkling 1.87. He was named to the NL All-Star team , but went 1-3 with a 5.88 ERA in seven starts. Coincidentally, Jurrjens had pitched a one-hitter against the Orioles on July 1, 2011, striking out eight and walking one. That’s his only appearance against the Orioles.

Last year was a disaster with a 3-4 record and a 5.89 ERA. At $5.5 million last year, the arbitration eligible Jurrjens was no bargain and Atlanta non-tendered him.

“If he’s healthy, I think you’ve got a jewel, a solid mid-rotation guy,” a major league scout said.

“The rewards are higher than the risk.”

The scout said that Jurrjens’ strengths are that he throws aroundd the strike zone. He’s not really a strikeout pitcher, but when he’s one, he doesn’t walk many.

The numbers reported by CBSsports.com’s Jon Heyman are a $1.5 million guarantee and incentives that could bring the package to $4 million.

Jurrjens will join the competition for the fifth spot, and like some of the others, he has options remaining, so he could be sent to the minors.

With Jake Arrieta, Zach Britton, Tommy Hunter and Steve Johnson all in the mix for the spot, it would seem that Norfolk would have a strong rotation, giving the Orioles lots of options.

If Tsuyoshi Wada is recovered from Tommy John surgery early in the season, there are even more options.

On the other hand, if Jurrjens isn’t healthy or effective enough to contribute, $1.5 million doesn’t seem like a lot of money to gamble.

NOTES:

-Baseball America’s Matt Eddy reports that the Orioles signed left-handed pitcher  Zach Staniewicz and re-signed right-hander Rich Rundles to minor league contracts.

-WBAL Radio will broadcast 16 Orioles exhibition games beginning with the Feb. 23 opener with Minnesota.