By Eduardo A. Encina
The Baltimore Sun
11:17 PM EST, January 24, 2013
The Orioles have agreed to terms with free agent right-hander Jair Jurrjens on a one-year deal, according to a report from CBSSports.com.
According to the report, the former Atlanta Braves pitcher will receive a major league deal worth $1.5 million and could earn up to $4 million with incentives. He was non-tendered by the Braves this offseason after earning $5.5 million in 2012.
Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette did not immediately return a text message late Thursday night.
The Orioles expressed interest in Jurrjens last offseason, and he was mentioned as part of a possible trade involving Orioles center fielder Adam Jones, but nothing materialized.
Last week, Duquette told reporters that he was seeking another veteran starter.
Jurrjens, who will turn 27 next week, was a National League All-Star in 2011, going 13-6 with a 2.96 ERA in 22 starts. But he struggled last season, pitching to a 6.89 ERA. In 10 starts, he lasted more than five innings just three times and spent much of the season in Triple-A.
Over the past two seasons, Jurrjens’ fastball has also lost some velocity. After consistently throwing at the 91-92 mph level over his first four seasons, his fastball averaged just 88.6 mph last season, according to FanGraphs. Jurrjens’ strikeout rate per nine innings went down last season – to 3.54 from 5.33 in 2011 – while his walks per nine innings went up – from 2.61 in 2011 to 3.35 in 2012.
It is a peculiar signing because the Orioles were still in talks to re-sign left-hander Joe Saunders to join an already crowded starting rotation competition. The addition of Jurrjens would give the Orioles 11 pitchers who could compete for a starting role.
Jurrjens is listed on the Netherlands' provisional roster to compete in the World Baseball Classic this spring, which would take him away for a part of spring training.
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