April 17, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Randall Delgado (40) pitches in the first inning against the New York Mets at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

Jair Jurrjens or Randall Delgado?

Tim Hudson is extremely close to coming back to the Atlanta Braves rotation. As far as I know, Fredi Gonzalez doesn’t think the 6-man rotation would be a fun experiment—although I wouldn’t put it past him—so that means one pitcher has to go.

Before the season it was a common fact that whoever won the last spot in the rotation battle would only be with the club while Huddy was recovering from back surgery. At this point in time however Delgado hasn’t been the worst pitcher in the rotation. Not by a long shot.

March 5, 2012; Kissimmee, FL, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher

Jair Jurrjens

  • Games Started- 3
  • Innings Pitched- 13.1
  • ERA- 8.10
  • FIP- 8.65
  • xFIP- 6.03
  • WHIP- 2.25
  • AVG- .362
  • K/9- 5.40
  • BB/9- 6.08

Randall Delgado

  • Games Started- 2
  • Innings Pitched- 10.1
  • ERA- 4.35
  • FIP- 3.53
  • xFIP- 3.06
  • WHIP- 1.65
  • AVG- .279
  • K/9- 9.58
  • BB/9- 4.35

Delgado is doing better than Jair in every major pitching category, and the only reason he doesn’t have more innings pitched is because I am writing this before Randall takes the mound today.

Delgado has walked more batters than he normally does, and is more hittable than he probably would have been if he had more time at triple A. If the team solely wants to win more games than it should be a no brainer to keep Delgado in the rotation instead of Jair. But there are a few other things at work here.

  1. The team probably still would like to trade Jair Jurrjens, and the only way to do that is for him to get some more starts that aren’t so atrocious. His trade value will never be where it was at the All-Star break last year, but it’s not crazy to think that we could get a decent outfield prospect for him.
  2. Randall Delgado is likely much more invested in the team’s long term plans and they want him to get some more work in Gwinnett to refine his off speed pitches and his control of the strike zone.


Delgado has the potential to be a number 2 starter in most big league rotations. The organization definitely doesn’t want to hurt any of that by keeping him in the bigs too long before he is ready and at the same time they have a huge need for some impact outfield guys.

Wrap Up

Normally I would argue that it is stupid for the team to demote a pitcher when the guy being demoted gives us a much better chance at winning than the guy who stays. In this situation however, I feel like there are too many moving pieces and I like to think I know what they are. If there is anything positive to pull out of this it’s that Jurrjens can’t possibly pitch any worse than he has already… Can he?


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Tags: Atlanta Braves Jair Jurrjens Randall Delgado Tim Hudson

  • Big Bad Bob

    “If there is anything positive to pull out of this it’s that Jurrjens can’t possibly pitch any worse than he has already… Can he?”
    Uh…yeah! Remember last year after the All Star break? He was horrible. I know..he was injured, but who says he isn’t still injured or still dwelling on the injury enough that he doesn’t trust his knee?
    Hopefully, though, he will start to put things together and build trade value by the trade deadline this year.

  • http://tomahawktake.com/ CarlosCollazo

     @Big Bad Bob Yeah he was bad last season but no where near an 8 ERA and FIP. Granted it’s only a few games but those are some ROUGH numbers. 
    I’m with you on the last part though, we could use some outfield pieces. What would you like to get in a trade with JJ?

  • Big Bad Bob

     @CarlosCollazo I would really like to see a AA or AAA outfield prospect with a high OBP. I wouldn’t sweat whether or not he could hit for power because we have Uggla, Freeman, McCann and Heyward as the big boppers. Next year, Bourn will NOT be with the Braves and we will need a high OBP guy to replace him.
    If we could get that sort of guy, along with a really good A ball player for JJ, I would be satisfied.

  • http://tomahawktake.com/ CarlosCollazo

     @Big Bad Bob I agree with the OBP type guy to help replace Bourn but I doubt we could get that AND a really good A player unless JJ makes some drastic changes. I’m starting to put more interest in Mycal Jones because of him as well.

  • FredOwens

    He can’t be optioned down. He has 4 years+ of service time and teams only have 3 option years.This is from Keith Law’s column at ESPN a couple of years back : http://espn.go.com/sportsnation/chat/_/id/26571
    Three years after the date of a player’s first appearance on a major-league roster, he must clear optional waivers (which are revocable) to be optioned even if he has options remaining. Players with under five full years of pro experience (full = > 90 days on an active roster, so short-season leagues don’t count, nor do years mostly lost to injury) are eligible for a fourth option, but the team must apply to the Commissioner’s Office to receive it. A player who signs a major-league contract out of the draft will get a fourth option if he’s not ready for the majors in his fourth year in pro ball, for example.
    So Jurrjens isn’t going down. Besides as you point out he would be worthless as a trade chip. Now he still has some value though I’m not sure who would take him other than perhaps Kansas City or Houston If you could pry J.D. Martinez from Houston that would be a good move for us and a coup. I suspect Houston would want more than Jurrjens to take his contract. I still think Lipka is never going to hit enough to be a major league player at any position so perhaps Lipka + Jurrjens and maybe one more for Martinez would work. I know that’s a lot but look what you’re asking them to take, he gets 5.5M this year and Martinez is a stud. I like Altuve but we have no place for him. Now if you took Meyers off their hands I’m sure they’d do it but Meyers earn $11.5M this year. They’d have to take half of that so we broke even and his numbers aren’t great except for 200+ innings a year.Now if you want to hear folks (not me I know better) whine loud suggest this…
    Jurrjens to KC for Frenchy. He’s a superb defensive outfielder with a howitzer (more accurate than a cannon) for an arm and his career split vs lefties 298 .346 .491 .837 43HR 63 doubles. Sure his OBP is about 300 but what do you expect to get for JJ really; Trumbo? Ain’t happening. We’d save about a million on the deal and Frenchy can even play a little center in a pinch. When you rest Heyward your right fielder still keeps runners from taking an extra base. The folks Frenchy had trouble with are gone or not the hitting coach anymore. It makes sense for KC because they really need pitching
    They’d probably part with Jason Bourgeois too. Hits lefties hard, plays center field well. Bad news? can’t hit righties at all doesn’t walk enough to put his speed to use.
    That’s the kind of guy you get for JJ now and unless he turns it around soon it might well be that way all year long.
    The guy at KC who best fits us is Alcides Escobar. Cheap enough at 2.75M a year for the next 3 after this, a good ss by all accounts and hits a bit. Doubt he’d going anywhere though.
    Maybe the Cubs part with Starlin Castro??? Nah even I can’t stretch to that one. … time for bed

  • http://www.sabbump.org/ clearwall

    #1 was the first thing I thought of when I read this headline. You move Jair down to AAA, you are forever giving up any hope to trade him. Even if teams thought they’d like to have him for their future, they’d just wait for his contract to expire and sign him on the cheap. No need to take a risk on a guy that cant even make the big league club. No way Jair goes down. I just hope he figures out whatever the hell he’s doing right now. He’s turning into Rick Ankiel at this point

  • http://www.sabbump.org/ clearwall

    Jair is sure making a great case for his outright release…

  • SavBravesFan

    Guess he HAS an option left.