According to Jon Heyman at CBS Sports, the Baltimore Orioles have signed Jair Jurrjens to a one-year, $1.5M contract. You may remember Jurrjens from the Adam Jones trade rumors last off season, when everyone scoffed because no way that guy was worth Adam Jones, even if they threw in Martin Prado.
Back then, Jurrjens was coming off of what looked like a good 2011 season that was cut off by injury at the end of August, but the underlying stats said that maybe everything wasn't as pretty as his 2.96 ERA. Ultimately the Orioles, of course, did not trade Adam Jones. Jurrjens then spent the 2012 season shuttling back and forth between the Braves and the minor leagues, ending up with a 4.98 ERA at AAA Gwinnett and a 6.89 ERA with the big league team. The reward for such a season was his release from the Atlanta Braves.
So what does Jurrjens bring to the table, other than the most easily misspelled name this side of Jakubauskas? Honestly, it doesn't appear like much. Jurrjens doesn't strike any guys out and his walk numbers aren't bad, but they won't wow you. His fastball velocity has been dropping every single year since 2007 and he pitches to high contact.
There is, however, a silver lining. Jurrjens has had past success and he's just turning 27 years old next week. With some time in the minors and some sessions with Rick Peterson, who knows? This is a low-risk move that might pan out. And if it doesn't pan out, we all know that the heartless Dan Duquette won't keep him around. And if he does work out, he's not a free agent until 2015 so that's a lot of service time that the Orioles just bought. And while there isn't a place on the internet say lists minor-league options for players, the quick math suggests he might have one left (I'm checking on that for sure).
Inventory building, that's what Dan Duquette is doing. We've learned that this is his way, and sometimes it works out. And I don't think this will stop them from signing Joe Saunders if the price is right.