Kevin C. Cox
All the way back on January 24th, word came out that the Orioles had signed RHP Jair Jurrjens to a one year, $1.5M contract for 2013, a contract that could have been worth up to $4M with incentives. But after going in for his physical, concerns came to light over Jurrjens' right knee. The announcement of the deal was delayed and delayed until finally, last night, the Orioles announced that they had signed Jurrjens to a minor-league deal with an invitation to Spring Training.
This is a good deal for the Orioles but bad news for what Jurrjens might be able to contribute to the club. If his knee is a problem during the season he'll have a tough time getting back to the pitcher he used to be. But on the other hand, if he does need some time to build up his strength and maybe work with Rick Peterson to be ready to come up for the Orioles later in the season, it's a lot cheaper for the Orioles if he's on a minor-league deal (ultimately they could save up to $3M based on Jurrjens' original contract).
Another aspect, although I think that with Buck Showalter and Dan Duquette it's not a big one, is that there is less pressure on the Orioles to look at Jurrjens for the starting rotation picture if he's not signed to a major-league deal. It's just less risk all around.
Hopefully Jurrjens will prove himself completely healed and, wherever he starts the season, will be a boon for the Orioles in 2013. The team sure could use a guy with numbers like he used to put up.