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Reasons Mets should take a chance on Jair Jurrjens
- Updated: January 3, 2013
There is very little that can explain what has happened to former Braves RHP Jair Jurrjens. It was only 2011 when Jurrjens was an All Star pitcher and some could make the case that he could have started the game. He struggled in three of his last four starts that season, before his season was finished after his August 30th start. Jurrjens and the Braves agreed to a $5.5 million contract for the 2012 to avoid arbitration. He was hideous in 2012, going 3-4, 6.89 in 11 games, 10 starts, striking out just 19 in 48 1/3 IP. He still failed to find his groove at AAA Gwinett, going 4-6, 4.98 in 14 starts for them. As expected, Jurrjens was not tendered a contract and is now a free agent.
In spite of his struggles, Jurrjens is well worth a team taking a chance on. He will turn just 27 at the end of January and has not gotten a lot of attention this offseason. Perhaps teams are focusing on others that may be a little more reliable in terms of making starts and not being a gamble. This has clearly pushed his price down; to a point where a low guaranteed base salary, possibly as little as $1 or $2 million (or even a minor league contract) may be enough to land the right hander. Mike Pelfrey is recovering from Tommy John and is getting $4 million+ from the Twins, so Jurrjens should be getting some attention. The fact that he has not, to this point, should result in teams like the Mets checking in on him.
I’m not making a case to guarantee Jurrjens a spot in the Mets rotation next season. I still think the team should pursue a pitcher like Shawn Marcum or Joe Saunders, or even bring back Chris Young. But to have Jurrjens as a wild card could be a bonus. Or, at the very least, not cost the team much if he continues to struggle. Jurrjens was a top pitcher for the Braves since he came over in the Edgar Renteria trade after the 2007 season. He has had some injury problems but at his age is worth the gamble. It would be an added bonus if he regains his form with the Mets and can show it playing against the Braves several times a year.
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