This past week the Baltimore Orioles signed Jair Jurrjens to a minor league contract with a non-roster invite to Spring Training. This might surprise fans of Jurrjens but it is absolutely the right move considering Jurrjens’ recent past. This way there is no long term commitment to Jurrjens by the Orioles but also there is the chance to work through problems if he should not make the team and chose to do so.
For a pitcher that was third in Rookie of the Year voting in 2008 and voted to an All-star game appearance in 2011, a minor league contract could seem like a slap in the face. By all appearances Jurrjens doesn’t take it that way and well he shouldn’t. First of all the Orioles have about a thousand starting pitchers in camp trying to get a few spots in the rotation. Jurrjens is certainly not the only non-roster invite in a pitcher’s cap. This actually shows a little more commitment than the Orioles had to show.
With his troubles last season and after being non-tendered by the Atlanta Braves, Jurrjens was out of options basically. A call for any type of contract is an opportunity. Jurrjens is smart and understands the game. He knows what this type of contract means to him. The Orioles are giving him just enough belief for him to have to go out and prove himself. After saying he was fully healthy and ready to go, Jurrjens seems to welcome the challenge.