MLB Trade Rumors: Why Atlanta Braves' Trading Jair Jurrjens Would Not Be Smart

Will BrownContributor IJuly 13, 2011

PHOENIX, AZ - JULY 12:  National League All-Star Jair Jurrjens #49 of the Atlanta Braves throws a pitch in the top of the sixth inning of the 82nd MLB All-Star Game at Chase Field on July 12, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Along with some other websites, ESPN believes that the Atlanta Braves should trade away the guy with the lowest ERA in the National League, Jair Jurrjens.

I can see the point in trading away Jurrjens: The Braves could probably get a big time bat if they wanted to shop him around.

In the ESPN article, Jason Churchill talks about how hard it is to explain why Jurrjens has been so good, because some of his metric stats are out of this world (such as his strand rate of 84.1 percent).

Jurrjens could be used as a main trade chip if the Braves were to go out and try to get a guy like Hunter Pence, though they would be more likely to send some prospects.

At least, I would hope they would.

Why would you trade away a guy that has been, arguably, the best pitcher in the majors this year? At the very least he's been in the top five.

Pitching is what led the Braves to all of those division titles through the 90s and early part of the 2000s, and that is exactly what the Braves have this year.

They are currently second in the majors in ERA (3.11), fifth in quality starts (58), third in WHIP (1.19), and second in opponents' batting average (.233).

Jurrjens has been the biggest part of that, with an ERA of 1.87 so far this year.

While he doesn't strike many batters out (only 5.29 per nine innings), he gets the job done in a very efficient way. The guy has started 16 games this year, and he's only given up more than three earned runs ONCE all year.

If the Braves were to trade Jurrjens away, that would mean that they feel very comfortable with Julio Teheran or Mike Minor to at least come close to the production Jurrjens has shown, but I don't think either can do that this season.

Also, the Braves would have to get a big time bat, like Hunter Pence and Matt Kemp, for me to even be relatively happy with the trade.

Would it be nice to have those guys? Of course it would.

Would it be worth it to lose the best pitcher on the team though? That I'm not so sure of.

Despite needing another bat in the lineup, the Braves have won the third most games in the league majors and are heavy favorites to at least win the NL Wild Card at this point.

The offense has picked up over the last few weeks, too, as 44 runs over the last ten games have moved them up to 18th in runs scored on the season.

With the way the Braves can pitch, we may not need another big-time bat to make the World Series.

After all, I think we have, at least potentially, a better offense than the San Francisco Giants had when they won it all last season.

Trading away your best pitcher is not the answer when you are not rebuilding. When healthy, Jurrjens has shown that he is a very good pitcher (3.68 ERA in 2008, 2.60 in 2009), and he is only 25 years old.

To me at least, trading him away is just not a good idea and would only hurt the team in the long run.