It has been assumed by just about everyone who follows the Atlanta Braves that when the team demoted Jair Jurrjens to triple-A Gwinnett, it was so that he could get himself back into shape, round his pitching arsenal back into form, and then return to the Atlanta rotation. But that may not be entirely accurate.
Earlier this evening baseball writer Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com tweeted a few interesting tidbits that might shed some light on the Braves real plan for Jurrjens.
One scout on Jair Jurrjens, after watching him in AAA with Braves: "He's a guy that other clubs need to get back on."— DKnobler (@DKnobler) May 31, 2012
When asked specifically what that meant, his reply was this:
This is not beyond the realm of possibilities since we spent most of this past off-season reading about ways in which the Braves were trying to trade away Jurrjens. Ultimately they were not successful, with many teams worried (righfully so, as it turns out) about how Jair would bounce back from his 2011 injuries. Despite his demotion this year and struggles in the Majors and in the minors, his recent work has continued to earn him more and more praise, and while the Braves are encouraged, it could be for reasons other than wanting him back in the Majors.
The reason behind trading Jurrjens this off-season was to shed his salary, and that need to shed salary has likely not gone away, as next season's salary could be even higher than this year's. Certainly the Braves want to get something for him, and if another team believes that he can be a solid Major League starter, they might be inclined to trade for him.
What would the Braves want in return? They may only seek relief from his salary this year, and some minor league make-it-look-good C-level prospect. Or they may want something useful in return, with the possibility of the Braves covering some of his remaining salary to get even more in return.
Whatever the outcome, this presents one more possibility to keep an eye on, and even more reason for Jurrjens to continue his comeback. One never knows what the Braves might need to add by the time the trade deadline rolls around, and one more good trade piece is always worth having -- whether Jurrjens is the trade piece, or whether an effective Jurrjens in the rotation allows the team to trade one of their other starters.