Q: Should the Braves trade Jair Jurrjens? A: Are you NUTS?

Better trade this guy before he breaks too many records. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Better trade this guy before he messes up and breaks too many records. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

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

270 comments Add your comment

dps

June 30th, 2011
2:58 pm

The way I’ve heard it, nobody is even calling Alderson to inquire about Reyes availability… Are they scared he’d be a rental for the rest of the season? I’d at least inquire about him, and see if he’d like to go to war with us against the Phils for the next few years. It’s probably gonna take $48M to $60M over 6 years to sign him (Wren, you set the market for middle infielders with Uggla), plus your gonna have to give up some combo of Delgado/Minor/Vizcaino for this year…

Oh, and who says this is JJ’s best? Remember, he’s only 25. Are you sayin’ he can’t get better/craftier? jus’ sayin’…

Fredi G is alright

June 30th, 2011
2:58 pm

Yeah, I’m thinking we take the money we are paying KK, Lowe, and Hudson will go to JJ and Hanson when that time comes. That is wishful thinking from the sharks that no longer develop there own talent (Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies).

dinkdunk

June 30th, 2011
2:59 pm

Hell yeah I’d trade him-but have to get a ton back.
JJ is a solid pitcher but I can’t see him winning more than 15 a year any year. Spends some time on the DL too. As hard as he throws, likely will have a missed year with injury at some point.
A couple of good young bats would be just the thing.

fredde

June 30th, 2011
3:00 pm

remember you never have enough pitching

pinkygonzales

June 30th, 2011
3:00 pm

I don’t see the point of moving JJ right now. We would need an impact right-handed centerfielder or shortstop in order to make a difference in our lineup. Kawakami and his $6.67 million and McLouth and his $6.5 million both come off the books next year. We are going have holes at both shortstop and center next year. Schafer can be the every day guy next year, which is not ideal, but is an option. But we are going to have to sign a shortstop (because the team obviously believes that Prado can’t play there, other wise LF field would be a trade option, as would be keeping Schafer and McLouth in the outfield when Prado returns and moving Martin to SS). JJ is under team control for three more seasons. We would have to get back either a proven CF or SS who is under team control at a relatively low salary who can make an impact on our line-up, and outside of Matt Kemp (who WILL NOT BE TRADED), I don”t see that kinda player out there. Now, if the Yankees get desperate and start asking about Derek Lowe, I would not only drive him to the airport myself, I would drive him all the way to NYC if Hartsfield was closed for some reason.

o-me

June 30th, 2011
3:01 pm

Didn’t Dave Pursley retire?

Mike is JJ a sure thing?

Farnsworthy

June 30th, 2011
3:01 pm

Geezzz Mark: See what you started? We just come off of a sweep of one of the best pitching staffs in the AL and the offense is finally waking up and you got to come out with this article about trading away J.J,. and now you got everyone cranky, hyperventilated and fired up!

ANDRUWW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

June 30th, 2011
3:01 pm

His name was ANDRUW. Not Andrew. ANDRUW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bossman Senior

June 30th, 2011
3:05 pm

How great would Bossman Junior Upton look in a Braves uniform. That would be sooooo much fun.

Go Braves.

Tray

June 30th, 2011
3:06 pm

I wouldn’t trade anyone, except some minor league prospect(s).

Team is coming together. Go with it.

Sonny Clusters

June 30th, 2011
3:06 pm

Dave Pursley won’t have to deal with it after all. Jeff Porter is the trainer. Can’t say we envy him. Hemorroids probably make Uggla grumpy, too. No wonder he can’t hold his head still when he swings and that could explain his falling to the ground when he swings and misses.

o-me

June 30th, 2011
3:07 pm

Farnsworthy~~~Mark just giving you ESPN BS.

Andruww!!!!!! 2 points for the Spelling bee King…lol

Sonny Clusters

June 30th, 2011
3:08 pm

Ointment may be what this team needs. If we was Jeff Porter we’d let somebody else apply it. Being trainer isn’t as glamorous as it seems on television when you get to put wet rags on people’s heads.

dps

June 30th, 2011
3:10 pm

FYI, dinkdunk, Jurrjens doesn’t throw that hard… his FB is around 89-91. His “secret sauce” this year is the change in the two-seamer/sinker grip he learned from Venters and his improved ability to locate his pitches. He’s become a poor-man’s Greg Maddux – fewer K’s but pitching to weaker contact… jes’ sayin’…

WreckBuzz

June 30th, 2011
3:16 pm

To me the discussion about trading Jair Jurrjens begins and ends with this question: Who are you going to trade him for that’s worth losing Jurrjens?

Matt Kemp is setting the world on fire now, but this is the first time that’s ever happened for him. Is it for real? The Dodgers have questioned his work ethic and focus. But he’s arbitration eligible just like Jurrjens, so if the Dodgers were to trade Kemp, it would be to save money considering their financial situation. But in a salary dump you don’t trade for a player likely to make just as much as Kemp in arbitration, which a Cy Young candidate pitcher is likely to make.

Jose Reyes would fit a huge need in the Braves lineup. But he’s a free agent and you don’t trade a player under control of Jurrjens caliber for a player not under control.

I just don’t see anybody out there good enough at the two positions of need CF and SS that are good matches for Jurrjens. And that’s not even considering whether you should be dealing Jurrjens at all. The guy is good. Derek Lowe will be gone in 2013 and Tim Hudson could be as well. Do you really think the Braves are ready to go to war with a rotation of Tommy Hanson and Brandon Beachy as the #1 & #2 starters? I like Julio Teheran, Mike Minor, Kris Medlen, Randall Delgado & Arodys Vizcaino, but until at least two of them are winning regular starts at the MLB level I am not parting with Jurrjens.

Bill

June 30th, 2011
3:18 pm

Mark I am trying to think of a team in the sellers market that would have a bat the Braves would deal for.Beltran,H.Ramirez, for example?I know the Braves want no part of Ramirez,but do you think Beltran would be a target?If not him then who?

Calvin Johnson

June 30th, 2011
3:19 pm

So if Matt Kemp or Reyes was Offered no?

freshd

June 30th, 2011
3:19 pm

Keep JJ. The Braves should make a play for Mike Cameron who has been designated for assignment by the Red Soxs. He would be an upgrade over the AAA players that keep coming up and he would bring some righthanded power to the bench, and he would come without giving up a high prospect.

o-me

June 30th, 2011
3:20 pm

Wreckbuzz~~very good points.

Steve

June 30th, 2011
3:23 pm

I love all of the comments saying, “Don’t trade JJ!!! Trade KK or Minor instead!”

Who exactly do you think the Braves are going to get for KK or Minor? Here’s a hint: it likely won’t be a starter or even a legitimate MLB player.

I’m not a proponent for trading JJ this season, but I think the Braves should eventually trade him. They have a ridiculous amount of good, young starting pitchers with more on the horizon. JJ is a Boras client, which means that the moment he is a free agent you will see him in New York or Boston. (At this rate, the Yankees may offer him 20Mil a season.) The longer the Braves wait, the less trade value they will have for him.

If the Braves traded JJ this offseason, I suspect they could get an impact bat AND a prospect or two for JJ. Depending on how the starting rotation looks going into 2012 (and it should look very good with or without JJ), the Braves should certainly listen to trade offers for JJ.

WreckBuzz

June 30th, 2011
3:24 pm

I say you give Jurrjens the $15m per season that Lowe is making and keep on trucking. $56m is going to come off the books for the Braves in 2012 and 2013 with the departures of Derek Lowe, Tim Hudson, Chipper Jones and lessor players like Nate McLouth, Kawakami, Linebrink, Sherill, Gonzo, etc.

The Braves will have the money to afford to keep Jurrjens AND sign/trade for a big bat to replace Chipper’s production. Not the mention that Liberty Media will be free to sell the Braves this offseason. If you’re Frank Wren, John Schuerholz & Terry McGuirk, do you really want to trade a premier pitcher that you think you can’t afford under the current ownership’s payroll when there’s the good chance you’ll be answering to a new, more payroll friendly owner very soon? I think we’re going to see an owner very soon (Arthur Blank perhaps) that would give the Braves the chance to resign BOTH Jurrjens & Hanson and create a pitching dynasty like the Braves used to have.

Lowcountry Bulldawg

June 30th, 2011
3:24 pm

Kemp- Dodgers cannot trade him because of his value $$$ wise to the impending sale of the franchise. That should answer any question of is he worth moving JJ for.

Reyes- F/A at end of year. Enough said.

If we wanna toss names out lets just go big and say Jose Bautista? That at least gives you a guy who can play 3B and the OF. Who is RH and under contract,lol!

Joshua

June 30th, 2011
3:24 pm

Rule of thumb…Never trade your ace. If it ain’t broken don’t fix it. JJ and Hanson are the best pitchers on the staff right now. They are both young but established now. You build your staff around them. Add Hudson at #3 because he still eats up innings and gives you quality starts. Throw in Peachy and Minor to finish the year and you have a rotation that can compete with anyone. I would trade Lowe and offer any outfielder who is not Prado or Hinski. Prado may be the best weapon at the top of the line up and the only player to consistently get on base. He is also the next thirdbaseman. We need hinski off the bench. I would offer up Schaefer, McClouth and or Hayward for a strong defensive cenetrfielder who can bat lead off consistently. I might would also offer Uggla up for an outfielder and move Prado back to second. Unless you can move Lowe or an outfielder for an outfielder who can bat leadoff with a good average and gets on base, I expect no big moves. Look for maybe a relief pitcher or a decent right handed bat in the outfield to platoon with heyward who cannot hit lefthanded pitching

John norris

June 30th, 2011
3:25 pm

we need a leadoff hiter and a righthande hiting outfielder we are too weekagainst lefthanded pitching
so mark bradley backoff

bob leblah

June 30th, 2011
3:26 pm

I think we should give up a whole bunch of expensive bad ballplayers for a bunch of cheap good ones.

G

June 30th, 2011
3:26 pm

I am more concerned with how we might be able to get someone to play third base for more than 120 games. The talk needs to begin about the possibility of him keeping this team from moving forward. The guy is struggling at the plate, numbers are down and has lost some range. He does not need to be an everyday player, which he hasn’t been the last few years. Let’s get someone in to replace him, like a Michael Young.

GT Alum

June 30th, 2011
3:29 pm

Really?? -

Then the people who post in the vent don’t know anything about baseball. The Braves haven’t been hitting much at all, but they’d be the wild card if the season ended today. If we can keep everyone relatively healthy the rest of the season and Uggla, Chipper and Heyward start hitting, this team will be serious playoff contenders.

DDPO

June 30th, 2011
3:30 pm

I nominate Sonny Clusters for the Bloggers HOF… Classic!

Thomas

June 30th, 2011
3:34 pm

Bradley it is good that you now see the value of JJ to this pitching staff, because I do recall that you were among those advocating that he be traded last season.Some folks want to trade JJ who has proven he is a starter at the Major League level because of prospects we have in the minor leagues. Those guys are prospects who we are not sure will be as productive as JJ has become. Lowe and Huddy will be gone in another year and two years resp., and Medlen, Minor and Theron we hope will fill those two openings. Medlen has proven that he can do it at this level, bot neither Minor or Theron has proven yet that they belong.

yoyoyoyo

June 30th, 2011
3:34 pm

There is one person and one person alone i would do this for. Matt Kemp in a straight swap. But in my opinion they would have to throw in some money.

FW

June 30th, 2011
3:38 pm

KK & McOut are the ONLY salarys off next year, maybe Lowe if we can give him away, Chipper & Huddy will be back & may even return the year after that, both will retire here. We need a SS,LF, & CF with the plan to move Prado to 3rd, still thinking about the JJ & Heyward swap for Kemp & Eithier, whata outfield we would have, should I go for it???

Joe

June 30th, 2011
3:39 pm

JJ for Justin Upton!!!!

Herschel Talker

June 30th, 2011
3:39 pm

MB:

Which pitcher should we trade? We have too many, and we need a bat.

HT

Dawg Whisperer

June 30th, 2011
3:39 pm

I’d part with Kawakami for Hamilton if the Rangers would throw in a little cash and possibly a pitching prospect, otherwise, the Rangers might as well forget it! I’m pretty sure I coild handle this baseball GM stuff. Play ball!

Bobby's Cox

June 30th, 2011
3:39 pm

Jair grew up a huge Braves fan. Maybe that means he stays true when Boras begins negotiations in a few years. Boras and Wren seem to have a better relationship than Boras & Scherholtz

Frank "Wrong Again" Wren

June 30th, 2011
3:42 pm

A: Why, yes, I am NUTS!

joekill

June 30th, 2011
3:43 pm

jj is the man hes worth the dough mark

HereComesBream

June 30th, 2011
3:45 pm

Trade JJ, haha….no way!

Frank "Wrong Again" Wren

June 30th, 2011
3:46 pm

Our “Big Bat” is Dan Uggla to whom I gave all that money before he even saw the first pitch here.

How’s that working out for us?

Chipper, go get some of whatever Bonds was taking.

Frank "Wrong Again" Wren

June 30th, 2011
3:47 pm

A: Why, yes, I am NUTS!

Frank "Wrong Again" Wren

June 30th, 2011
3:50 pm

Mark, would you like to cuddle?

Mike Hampton Owes Me Money

June 30th, 2011
3:50 pm

MB, what about Beachy and a good minor league prospect for Reyes? You get the rest of the year with the most dynamic player in the game, and maybe we convince him to re-sign…or a sign & trade (Joe Johnson style)

slurve

June 30th, 2011
3:50 pm

Trade Uggla for Infante, straight up.

Hillbilly D

June 30th, 2011
3:53 pm

It’s true his value may never be higher but I’d hang on to him, anyway. Buster must have had writer’s block when he wrote that column.

chem

June 30th, 2011
3:53 pm

JJ and Mclouth for Hunter Pence = Braves make a run at title

then
Hanson, Hudson, Lowe, Beachy, Medlen — Can’t complain about having those guys as your starting 5. Braves have to trade JJ now.

Rilo

June 30th, 2011
3:54 pm

Go get CoCo Crisp (Michael Bourn would be good as well)….see what kind of an upgrade we could get at SS. Don’t rule out trading JJ. Olney is right on one thing….he’s GREAT trade bait. So may deals get started with talking about one guy and wind up trading another guy. We are in a great spot as long as our ownership sees the “value” in upgrading for a few extra million in order to make a deep run in the playoffs. This is FW’s chance to save his reputation.

GT Alum

June 30th, 2011
3:54 pm

Mike Hampton Owes Me Money -

Baseball rules don’t allow sign and trades. And how electric Beachy has been, I’d be reluctant to trade just him for half a year of Reyes, especially since the talk is he’s going to get Crawford-esque money, which means the Braves aren’t likely to sign him this offseason regardless of whether he spends half a season here or not.

Kentavo

June 30th, 2011
3:56 pm

This is just plain stupid on Olney’s part.

GT Alum

June 30th, 2011
3:57 pm

chem – There’s very little chance Medlen starts this year. If he has to stretch out to start, he won’t be back until very late in the year, which means we’d have to bring up someone like Delgado or Tehran to fill in until then. If we call up one of those guys, I doubt Meds knocks him out of the rotation when he comes back. Meds will likely end up in the ‘pen this year, and, if our SP prospects develop, that’s his likely destination for the rest of the time he’s a Brave.

really???

June 30th, 2011
3:58 pm

GTalum at 3:29 – I was being facetious. I can look at this team and see that, yes, the offense is under-performing, but the pitching is in a class of two with Philadelphia. Everyone else in the league is looking up at those two staffs. Of course, Tom Verducci at SI says that Jair is maybe the third best pitcher in the NL, behind Halladay and Hamels. I can see the JJ/Halladay argument being close, but I’d take Jurrgens over Hamels any day.