Atlanta Braves: Why Jair Jurrjens Is Their Most Valuable Trade Piece

Jonah P DAnalyst IOctober 31, 2011

ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 30:  PItcher Jair Jurrjens #49 of the Atlanta Braves throws a pitch during the game against the Washington Nationals during the game at Turner Field on August 30, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)
Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

Jair Jurrjens, during the majority of the 2011 season, was the ace of one of the most talented pitching staffs in baseball.

Last season, he posted a record of 13-6, with a 2.96 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP.

For the first half of this season, he was a top contender for the Cy Young Award, with 12 wins and a stellar 1.87 ERA.

Then after pitching in the All-Star game, Jurrjens suffered a serious injury to the knee. He pitched hardly one-third of the amount of innings in the second half of the season than he pitched in the first, while managing only one win.

This offseason, the Braves are in need of offensive improvement.

In order to achieve this, the most efficient way would be to give up Jurrjens in a trade, for the following reasons.

Why the Braves Don't Need Jurrjens

The main reason the Braves would be reluctant to hold onto Jurrjens next season is his injury history.

His knee has been injured multiple times, and just over a year ago, he underwent surgery on it. After injuring his knee once again during the 2011 season, he struggled to return to health for the rest of the season.

The chances are that with his history of injuries, he will have difficulty maintaining his health in the next few years, and later in his career.

ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 17:  Jair Jurrjens #49 of the Atlanta Braves against the San Francisco Giants at Turner Field on August 17, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Another reason the Braves do not need Jurrjens is the amount of money he will make, especially as a client of Scott Boras. If they are to make a trade, they will need to relieve themselves of a large salary.

The loss of Jurrjens would not make too much of an impact on the Braves, because of the amount of young pitching talent prepared to take a starting role.

Without Jurrjens, the Braves' pitching rotation would likely be:

1. Tommy Hanson

2. Tim Hudson

3. Brandon Beachy

4. Julio Teheran

5. Mike Minor

This would be a fairly dominant pitching staff.

In the final month of the season, Mike Minor proved himself to be a very competent starting pitcher in the majors, and Julio Teheran has proved himself enough in the minor leagues to be considered major-league ready.

Why Other Teams Want Jurrjens

PHOENIX, AZ - SEPTEMBER 28:  Matt Kemp #27 of the Los Angeles Dodgers warms up on deck during the Major League Baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on September 28, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Dodgers defeated the Diamondbacks
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

If Jurrjens is going to be traded, the only deal he would be worth giving away in is for outfielder Matt Kemp or Carlos Quentin.

Both of these players' teams, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox, are in need of young pitchers to add depth to their team. Jurrjens, as well as a few other young Braves' players, are able to offer this.

Aside from this, there aren't many teams that wouldn't want a potential Cy Young candidate and All-Star on their pitching staff.

For most teams, Jurrjens would be the ace of the staff, and they would be willing to take the gamble on his health.

The Braves, as well as the team he is dealt to, could greatly benefit from a trade of Jair Jurrjens.


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