MLB.com's Hot Stove crew talks about the Atlanta Braves efforts to trade starting pitcher Jair Jurrjens, what their reasons for trading him might be, and what kind of market might exist for him out there.
All off-season we've said that the young kids are ready to take the reins of a Major League rotation spot. Despite injury concerns with Tommy Hanson and Tim Hudson to start the season, the Braves seem willing to deal Jurrjens (if you believe all the rumors). Though the talking heads in the video are right when they say that Jurrjens' trade value is greatly diminished right now.
I've been conflicted about this all off-season. I began the off-season by pointing out that Jurrjens was the most likely pitcher to be traded due to his increasing salaries through arbitration. As we learned more about the uncertainty of the TH-es in the rotation the more I felt it was probably best to hold onto JJ until everyone was mostly healthy. Then there was that whole "we want a Greinke-like return" thing, then we realized that ain't happening.
Where I am right now is kind of in the hold-on-to-him camp. If the team trades him, I want to see them get maximum value, and that might be more achievable by proving he is fully healthy with a strong spring training. That would also help the Braves cover for all the other health question marks, and help them determine if the kinds are ready to step in.
Actually, opening the season with a few starts from Mike Minor, Julio Teheran, and Randall Delgado -- two of them filling in for the still rehabbing Hanson and Hudson -- might be a good way to measure which one of them is ready to take a rotation spot (or which two of them are ready, meaning the Braves would then be free to trade Jurrjens). Early season trades are pretty rare, so it may be closer to mid-year before Atlanta could free up a spot in the rotation if Jurrjens is not moved in spring training.
There are scenarios aplenty. I guess right now I'd kind of like to see the Braves hold on to him, but it should be clear by now that the Braves won't be holding on to Jurrjens for long. I'd say there's a 95% chance that Jurrjens is traded at some point in 2012. Younger, cheaper, better options exist in the Braves system.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports posted an article regarding Jurrjens, and mentions a couple of point (most of which we already knew):
Jair Jurrjens has drawn some interest from the Orioles, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Rockies, Tigers, Rangers and others. However, while Jurrjens is a terrific young starter, he appears to be behind Oakland's Gio Gonzalez on the pecking order of most teams, possibly because of potential concerns about the knee injury that hampered him at the end of last year.
Figures that Gio would be ahead of JJ on teams' wish lists.
The Braves also have suggested that they will not trade Jurrjens within their division, thereby eliminating the active Marlins as a potential suitor.
Der. I think the Braves really want to trade him out of the league.
The Braves say they are only considering trading Jurrjens because they have a wealth of starting pitchers, and a need for improving their offense. Jurrjens' arbitration number is expected to be very high, as well, and Atlanta has been limited financially this winter.
Both mentioned above by me.
One other issue with the Braves is that their history of trading starting pitchers is so good that some others teams are leery about trading with them. It seems they know just went to deal pitchers, right at the height of their value.
They've gotten lucky, but they've also never traded a pitcher this young with Jurrjens' kind of track record (HoRam is not a comp here).