The Colorado Rockies have added a pitcher that I spent a lot of time hoping they would add. The problem is, I hoped that they would add Jair Jurrjens back in like 2010 when he was a borderline ace. On Wednesday the Rockies acquired Jurrjens from the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for infielder Harold Riggins.
Bryan Kilpatrick of Purple Row eloquently, yet concisely, expressed that same sentiment yesterday upon learning the news that the Rockies had acquired Jurrjens in a trade with the Cincinnati Reds.
I wanted Jurrjens like four years ago
— Bryan Kilpatrick ⚾ (@purplerowBK) July 2, 2014
Jurrjens pitched in two big league games last year, both for the Baltimore Orioles. Otherwise he spent his time in Triple-A in Baltimore’s system as well as seven more Triple-A starts for the Detroit Tigers. He had made six minor league starts this season before the Reds agreed to deal him to the Rockies in exchange for infielder Riggins.
Jurrjens enjoyed his last successful big league campaign all the way back in 2011 when he won 13 games for the Atlanta Braves. He pitched 156 innings and posted a stellar 2.96 ERA. At the time it just seemed like another good season from a young pitcher on the rise for the Braves. Unfortunately things have fallen apart in the years since.
His six minor league starts this season have yielded underwhelming results for the most part (2-3, 4.46 ERA), though his K/9 are up to 7.08, north of his usual average. Then again, it is the minor leagues and you are really straining to spin this positively if you lean on that number.
We know what this is: Jurrjens is a band-aid, a guy who is likely going to eventually fill a spot in the rotation only as long as the Rockies do not have a better option. There is a certain pragmatism to this signing on the part of the Rockies: they are probably going to get shelled anyway, so might as well bring in somebody else to take a few shots to the chin as you whimper through the remainder of the season.
As for Jurrjens, he will try to turn that depressing reality into a second chance to be a big league pitcher. The odds are against him for any number of reasons, from his ineffectiveness in recent seasons to the fact that his home games will be at Coors Field to the fact that he will likely register zero individual wins because the bullpen is guaranteed to ruin any good start for him.
The plan is to send Jurrjens to the Sky Sox, but given the corresponding move to active Nolan Arenado on Thursday (demoting Christian Friedrich), he might not be down there for long. As Nick Groke of the Denver Post observes:
— Nick Groke (@nickgroke) July 3, 2014
Hey, at least Jurrjens didn’t have an ERA north of 7.00 in Triple-A, right?