Trade Match Series-Jair Jurrjens

Whether or not a trade happens between two teams can come down to many nebulous factors, from the relationship between the two GMs, how clubs value players, and the level of motivation a team has to move someone. But one important element that can be looked at objectively is how the teams match up. This is a series where I’m going to look at how the Yankees match up with the other team for their prospective trade targets.

What do the Braves need?

They’re looking for position players, namely a SS to replace Alex Gonzalez immediately and a CF to replace Michael Bourn when he hits FA next year. They could also use a 3B  to take over for Chipper Jones when his contract expires after 2012, or possibly sooner given Larry’s inability to stay healthy in recent years.

Who do the Braves have in their farm system?

Mostly pitchers, which is what gives them the luxury to move Jurrjens in the first place. Their best SS prospect is Matt Lipka, who’s a long way away as a 19 year old in the Sally League where he struggled with the bat (.247/.305/.304) in his first year of full season ball. In AA Mycal Jones struggled to make the shift from SS to CF last year, taking his woes to the plate (.196/.357/.283 in 138 ABs) with him after the move was made last June.

Yankee trade chips that match:

Eduardo Nunez (SS), Brandon Laird (3B), Brett Gardner (CF), Ramiro Pena (SS), Zoilo Almonte (CF), Melky Mesa (CF)

The Ephemeral: 

The Braves may really want to move him since they have a ton of pitching on the way, from Beachy to Minor to Vizcaino to Teheran. Jurrjens will get a big arb bump this year, has trouble staying healthy, and moving him would open up payroll space to make other moves this offseason or during the season next year. The Braves have always operated on a tight budget going all the way back to their glory days on the 1990’s, and while they saved 5M trading Derek Lowe they picked up the rest of the 10 Mil owed to him. The Yanks may be wary of bringing in another Braves pitcher since their recent history with them (Jaret Wright, Javier Vazquez) hasn’t been good.

0 thoughts on “Trade Match Series-Jair Jurrjens

  1. I’d honestly be warry of trading Nunez for Jurrjens straight up, which is something they wouldn’t even consider, so I would say no to Jurrjens altogether. He simply has way too many question marks to fit our search critera. His health is a huge factor and although it hasn’t been full of arm injuries, missing that much time before 26 and losing a MPH off your fastball because of a knee are huge concerns. Add that to the fact that even when healthy he doesn’t miss many bats, doesn’t generate a ton of ground balls, and pitches in the NL he’s someone I’d stay away from. Atlanta has some pitchers I’d trade for, Jurrjens isn’t one of them.

    Honestly I’d rather sign Edwin Jackson than trade for Jair. They have similar peripheral numbers over the last 3 years, yet Jackson has been much much more healthy in that time period, and he’s got much better stuff. I don’t see either as being any more than a 3 pitcher in the East at their best, but Jackson has a ton less questions surrounding him.

    • I don’t love him either, but I think Jurrjens is a better pitcher than Jackson. He relies heavily on his changeup, which he throws in the low 80s (as well as a slider). As long as his FB stays above 90 MPH he’s fine. He threw all 3 pitches almost equally last year, which is rare for someone his age. I think he has the tools to make adjustments and be fine in YS3.

      I’m starting to think the Braves are more motivated to move him than we know. As I noted in the piece they always run on a tight budget, and even with saving the 5M for Lowe they still have to pay the other 10M, which hurts a club like them. They have a TON of young pitchers, I think they want as many of them in the rotation as possible, being tutored by the veteran Hudson. The report by Heyman (who I don’t trust) about wanting a Grienke-type return seems far fetched to me.

  2. Edwin Jackson
    214.0 IP, 6.77 K/9, 2.94 BB/9, 39.1 GB%, 3.62 ERA, 4.28 FIP, 4.32 xFIP
    209.1 IP, 7.78 K/9, 3.35 BB/9, 49.4 GB%, 4.47 ERA, 3.86 FIP, 3.71 xFIP
    199.2 IP, 6.67 K/9, 2.79 BB/9, 43.8 GB%, 3.79 ERA, 3.55 FIP, 3.73 xFIP

    Jair Jurrjens
    215.0 IP, 6.36 K/9, 3.14 BB/9, 42.9 GB%, 2.60 ERA, 3.68 FIP, 4.28 xFIP
    116.1 IP, 6.65 K/9, 3.25 BB/9, 39.9 GB%, 4.64 ERA, 4.19 FIP, 4.29 xFIP
    152.0 IP, 5.33 K/9, 2.61 BB/9, 42.0 GB%, 2.96 ERA, 3.99 FIP, 4.23 xFIP

    Jackson also holds a better swinging strike percentage in his career (9.1% compared to Jurrjens at 7.4%)

    Besides the fact that Jackson has pitched 140 more innings in the last 3 years (623.0 IP vs 483.1 IP), he’s posted better K/9 marks, similar BB/9 marks, a better GB%, and better FIP/xFIP numbers over the last 3 years all while pitching in the AL. I think he’s proven himself to at least be on par with what Jurrjens has brought to the table, if not actually proven himself to be better. He’s also been trending up over the last few years in terms of production, and even though he won’t be a number 2 starter, he’s much more consistent than his reputation. Factor in the consistent 200 innings every year and he’s a much clearer choice to me between the two.

    I actually think the Braves are very motivated to move him as well, but I don’t think it has as much to do with money as you do. I think they know his value is as high as it’s going to get and they are trying to get out from underneath his knee before it completely blows up and they get nothing in return.

    • Or we could just take Dan Haren off the Angels’ hands…

      If only^^^.

      Anyway, like T.O. Chris said, the combination of Jurrjens’ low swing-and-miss rate, low K/9, and low GB%, is extremely far from ideal. Factor in his knee problem (I believe it was his knee, right?), as well, and he is just not a fit for the Yankees needs.

      • I agree that he’s not a great fit, but if the Yanks can get him at a reasonable cost then I’ll roll the dice on him getting healthy this year. Knees can be tricky, but they generally can be fixed. Matsui had two bad knees 5 years age and he’s still playing. Randy Johnson was bone on bone on his plant leg for the last 6 years of his career.

        Maybe a trade gives him a wake up call to get his legs in better shape. Lance Berkman did that after having knee trouble and we all saw what he did. If not, he should be at least league average which will give the Yankee offense a chance to win. If it doesn’t work out, he’ll still have some trade value next year given his age.

          • It would have to be such a good deal they shouldn’t do it. Someone would give more than I’d be comfortable with.

    • I should have said I think Jurrjens is better “when healthy” which he hasn’t been at times for the past two years.

      Jackson is very frustrating. He’s a guy with SO stuff that doesn’t miss as many bats as he should and gets hit extremely hard when he’s not generating grounders. Look at his BABIP numbers. Anyone who turns all of baseball into .302 to .341 hitters for 5 of the past 6 years isn’t fooling anyone. Last year he was .330 BABIP. We don’t need another AJ Burnett type that throws 95 and gets clobbered, especially in the AL East.

      • I’m not saying “lets go get Jackson”, I’m saying if we are trading for Jurrjens we might as well go get Jackson.

        When Jackson’s slider is on he can dominate, when it’s not he’s much like AJ. The point still stand that he’s been as good and more consistent over the last 3 years. That has to count for something when considering taking on a pitcher. Would you rather have the guy who may be better but likely won’t pitch more than 150-180 innings, or the 3.8 WAR guy who throws 200+ every year?

        Jurrjens is never healthy, that’s kind of the point. In a 4 year career he has broken 189 innings pitched once, and he did that in 2009. Nothing suggests that he will be this super healthy pitcher for the next 2 years, and if he isn’t he then has to be let go or re-signed to a long term deal. The Yankees need someone they can slot into the number 2 spot in the rotation, Jurrjens doesn’t do that for multiple reasons.

        Also the more I read about Jurrjens he basically admitted that the loss in velocity was on purpose, as he was trying to miss less bats and create more ground balls. He certainly missed less bats (7.4 swinging strike percentage down from 8.9) but he didn’t exactly set the world on fire with ground balls only generating 42.0 GB% up from 39.9%.

        • Again, I like Jurrjens only if he’s available at a low cost. If he’s going to cost a package of prospects that will sting, I pass.

          • Fair enough. Though If they are all but salary dumping him I think it raises more flags than he already has.

            He just seems like a guy who will always be struggling to give you more than 150-180 innings.

            Jackson, Buehrle, and Wilson would all be better additions than Jurrjens where I sit. I’m not a huge Buehrle or Jackson fan, but I like them better than Jair.

    • I did, but the main difference is one is right handed and the other a lefty. With Danks pitching half his games in YS3 along with the Yankee defensive strength on the left side of the OF I think his HR rate will go down and fly ball tendencies (career 39.2%) will work well with the Yanks. I don’t view Danks as #2, rather a solid mid rotation option to replace Hughes or Burnett.

      • I tend to agree. With Danks being a lefty I would want him over Jackson, but I think it brings into perspective more what Danks is. I think way too many people view him as a 2 with possible ace upside. I simply don’t believe this to be the case. I think the article proves more that you should hold any trade for Danks down in terms of prospects, rather than provng you should sign Jackson. Interesting article over all though.

  3. Isn’t there something to be said for the fact that if the Yankees were to trade for Jurrjens at a “reasonable” cost. That he only has 2 years left before he hits FA. If he bombs or he has injury issues that can’t be resolved the Yankees have only that to worry about. Whereas with Jackson is probably going to take a 4 year deal and more money to sign him (Boras is his agent) and as for Buehrle he’s going to get 3 years minimum and probably $30 to $35MM and he’ll be 33 come March of 2012. Seems to me Jurrjens is the lesser of 3 evils if one chooses to use those terms.

    Having said all of that I can certainly understand the Yankees apprehension not having had much luck with Braves pitchers.

    • Yes, its what GMs call “flexibility” and for a team like the Yanks its even more valuable than most, since their ability to spend is essentially limited by their roster space. You don’t have it with AJ Burnett, you won’t have it if you sign a CJ Wilson, Jackson or Buehrle for multiple years, but you do have it with Jurrjens.

      If Jurrjens blows out his knee tomorrow and can never pitch again, you don’t offer him arb next year. If that happens to a FA, you’re still stuck paying him and wasting a roster spot on him while he rehabs.

    • The point then becomes you traded someone like Nunez for 2 years of a headache, who you then let go for nothing. With Beuhrle, Jackson, or Wilson you are banking on getting 200+ innings for 3-5 years. The likelihood of value simply goes the way of the latter. As much as I am against adding Buehrle I think 3 years of his 200+ innings and mid 4 ERA will be worth more than 2 years of Jurrjens, same with Jackson for 4 years.

      I really hate the argument that Jurrjens is better than Jackson because if he absolutley can’t pitch you can move on quicker. You should be looking to find a pitcher who you think can succeed, not one with the quickest exit strategy.

      I don’t want either Jurrjens, Buehrle, or Jackson to be honest, I don’t think they fit the need. But I like Jackson and Buehrle better if I had to take one of the three.

      Wilson is very clearly better than all the above, and on a 5 year deal provides way more value than any of the others could hope for.

      • It’s not “2 years of a headache”. It’s year to year with Jurrjens, he’s an arb guy. And are we really that concerned about losing Nunez?

        As to your upside argument it’s not a great FA class, so you’re looking for value and certainty that really isn’t out there. You can’t force the matter. All of the guys you listed could be busts as Yankees, the difference again is flexibility.

        • The fact that there is even a chance we don’t offer him arb is the point I think is being missed. That would mean you get absolutley nothing out of a guy you traded someone the org liked for. His upside isn’t high enough for the risk to me.

          I don’t think Nunez for Jurrjens will ever happen, they’re going to want Nunez+, it’s the plus that has me not doing the deal. I’m not the biggest Nunez mark but I do like what he can provide, consider how unlikely it is Arod and Jeter stay healthy/effective.

          I disagree. There is value in this free agent market, there just isn’t high upside. If you want a number 4 starter there is plenty of options open, we simply don’t need that. I think Wilson is being underrated but that’s an argument for another piece.

          I don’t see any reason to believe Buehrle and Jackson wouldn’t provide 200 innings and mid 4 ERAs throughout their contracts. They may not be great pitchers, but nothing suggests they will be as injured as Jurrjens likely will be.

          Again my argument isn’t “go get Jackson/Buerhle”. My argument is don’t get Jurrjens, he simply isn’t a top pitcher in the first place. Add on the injury risk and I don’t care for him.

  4. BTW- I have the 2nd edition of this series scheduled to run a 2:00 today, and its on Matt Garza. It’s a good read, and after researching the matter I think Yankee fans will be pleased with what I found out.

    The two biggest things to watch for on Garza is where Pujols and Fielder land. If Pujols doesn’t re-sign with the Cards and the Cubs land Fielder, I think Garza stays put. If one or both of those things don;t happen, I think Theo looks to rebuild a farm system that badly needs it. I have serious doubts Theo will land Prince, he bitched for years about Manny’s deal and Prince’s figures to be longer and more expensive. My money’s on Theo rebuilding, and Garza’s value is lost on a team that isn’t competitive.

    • Looking forward to it. I’ll save my thoughts on Garza for the article, but I see Manny and Fielder being somewhat different. Manny was awful in the outfield while Fielder is below average at first, Manny has the better bat but the defense and work ethic iis what made a lot mad in Boston.

      • Whoever gives Prince a contract that takes him to his late 30’s will likely regret it halfway through. I think Theo’s too smart to do that, and he already has two awful contracts on his books in Soriano and Zambrano. He can sell the media/fans that it’s a bad move, and go about his business.

        • Do you really think he’s getting an 8-10 year deal? a 7 year deal would take him through his year 34 season, in which case you probably regret the last 2 or 3 years. I think fielder can stay productive with the bat until he is 32 or 33 no problem. It would be defense and his weight I would worry about. I probably wouldn’t sign him unless I was an AL team so I could have the DH fall back at the end, and then only on a 6-7 year deal. Maybe some team pops off at 8+ years, but I don’t think there are any deals that long you don’t regret.

          • I feel bad for any fanbase who’s GM gives out 8-10 years for Fielder. If I needed a first baseman and played in the AL I’d do 7 and just deal with the last 2-3 years, but anything past that is always a bad idea.

    • Steve as I’ve said on more then one occasion I’m not a stats geek. But of all the pitchers mentioned I’d much rather have Garza in the Yankees rotation then those mentioned so far here. At least he’s used to the AL East which I think sometimes is overlooked by some when they evaluate various pitchers.

      Not to throw kudos at another site but there is a very nice piece on Darvish on the TYA today. And why now might be exactly the right time for the Yankees to go after Darvish considering the new CBA.

        • Yeah, thanks for the heads up. I left a few comments. I love Mo, but in my view there are some big holes in his argument. I agree that with the premise that Darvish makes more sense in the light of the new CBA, but thought the piece broke down in the details.

          I take Cash at his word on Darvish. They’re interested, but up to a point. Spending 100M on a Japanese (minor league) pitcher makes little sense whether it counts against the cap or not. At a certain price point, it becomes too risky.

      • Looking more and more like Darvish isn’t going to be posted. Between what his dad has said about hating the posting system, and now his wife wanting to postpone the divorce until he comes to the US he probably waits until at least next year. He might just go ahead and say screw it, but over the last few days the tone coming from that side has gotten bleaker and bleaker.

        Also it’s never a bad thing to give a shout out to a Moshe piece over at RAB.

          • Not really sure if that is fair. No one knows 100% for sure, but given the information known it’s reasonable to expect him not to post at this point. His own dad said it’s 50-50 at best and that was a week ago. Apparently they don’t want to give into the posting system and would rather protest it by sitting out. That I don’t know if I believe, but I certainly understand why he wouldn’t come over with the divorce going on.

            His wife has petitioned the courts to postpone the divorce proceedings twice now. She’s petitioning to make his MLB contract part of the divorce settlement, it’s in his best financial interest to finalize the divorce before posting. Even if it means waiting a year.

  5. With Garcia back in the fold I don’t see the Yankees signing Wilson or Darvish. Shame on Darvish, I liked the idea of him. I don’t want Jurrjens. His peripherals are weak, and the Braves are asking for a lot. He doesn’t grade out to much better than the post AAA stint Ivan Nova. Pass.

    • Garcia doesn’t preclude Wilson or Darvish, it just makes sure they won’t over pay for either. I still think they make a last minute offer on Wilson.

      Shame on Darvish? Why? For not wanting to give away money he hasn’t even earned yet to a soon to be ex-wife? That would be incredibly stupid on his behlaf, I wouldn’t post before the divorce settles either.

      Nova actually grades out better since his ground ball numbers are better and his K% is better.