In case you missed it, the Reds added some much-needed pitching depth by inking former All-Star starting pitcher Jair Jurrjens to a minor league contract. News of the signing was first announced Tuesday morning by Bob Nightengale of the USA Today.
The addition of Jurrjens comes on the heels of the Reds losing Jeff Francis to Oakland via the waiver wire. With Francis gone, it left Cincinnati with Chien-Ming Wang as the only real insurance option if a current starter on the major league staff went down to injury.
Although once thought of as a potential frontline starter, a rash of knee injuries and subsequent surgeries have seriously derailed what used to be a promising career for Jurrjens. The Curacao native finished third in the Rookie of the Year voting in 2008 after posting a 13-10 record and 3.68 ERA with Atlanta. He followed that up with a 14-10 and 2.60 ERA in 2009 before earning an All-Star nod in 2011. Unfortunately, Jurrjens hasn't been the same ever since.
The 28-year-old spent much of last season in Triple-A with Baltimore and Detroit where he tallied a 4.57 ERA with a modest 5.1 SO/9. He made only two appearances in the big leagues last season with both of which coming as an Oriole.
According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, Jurrjens could earn an annual salary of $800,000 if he can manage to break the big league roster.
It remains to be seen whether Jurrjens can return to the form he enjoyed in the late-2000s. But regardless of what happens I like this low risk signing by the Reds. And hopefully it pays dividends for Cincinnati just as plucking Alfredo Simon off waivers right before the 2012 season has.