Usually Braves fans posit trades in this fanciful way: “Greg Norton for Albert Pujols — that’d be a great move!” But here, courtesy of Buster Olney and his ESPN Insider blog, we have something different. We have baseball people asking if the Braves would consider trading Jair Jurrjens.
Writes Olney (link requires registration):
Some rival executives have wondered if that pitching depth would allow Atlanta to consider a very bold move with a pitcher whose stock has reached its zenith — Jair Jurrjens, who is 10-3 with a 2.07 ERA and a midseason candidate for the Cy Young Award. If the Braves actually dangled Jurrjens in the market, they could put themselves in position to get an impact offensive position player in return.
Just to reiterate: All the discussion among rival evaluators about Jurrjens is pure speculation.
Well, thank heavens. The Braves have had many good pitchers over the past 20 years, but not many have ever been better over half a season than J.J. in the year 2011. As Joe Lemire notes on SI.com, since 1990 only four starting pitchers have finished a season with an ERA under 2.00 — Greg Maddux twice, Pedro Martinez twice, Roger Clemens twice and Kevin Brown once. Jurrjens is, as Olney mentioned, at 2.07.
Oh, and there’s this: He’s 25 years old! He’s arbitration-eligible again after this season — he and the Braves settled for $3.25 million over the winter — but he won’t be eligible to become a free agent until after the 2013 season. (Yes, his agent is Scott Boras.) He can be the ace of this superb staff for at least two more years.
I know, I know. His trade value will never be higher than it is today. Neither will Brian McCann’s, and I’d suggest the Braves hang on to him, too.
As for Kenshin Kawakami … I might part with him if the Rangers offered Josh Hamilton. Might, I said.
By Mark Bradley