Mark Bowman of MLB.com is reporting that the Atlanta Braves are willing to listen to trade offers for Jair Jurrjens and Martin Prado. In moving the pair, Atlanta would be trying to secure more financial flexibility and bring back young talent. Bowman says the Braves have already reached out to the Kansas City Royals regarding Jurrjens.
It’s hard to say someone who maintained a sub-three ERA over 150 innings as a 25-year-old had a disappointing year. But, Braves fans watching Jurrjens’ 2011 performance were probably left with a bad taste in their mouth after the season.
Jurrjens started the year off on fire, holding an ERA of 1.51 through May. This dominance waned throughout the summer, but the right-hander still managed earned run averages of 3.30 and 3.27 in June and July.
Then the wheels began to fall off for Jurrjens and the Braves as a whole. Jurrjens was roughed up for 16 earned runs on 31 hits over his four August starts spanning 23 1/3 innings. Then, due to knee problems, Jurrjens was shut down for the remainder of the season.
Prado had a more traditional disappointing season in 2011. The utility man struggled at the plate, mustering only an OPS of .687 with 13 home runs and 57 RBI’s.
Even after their down years, both players should hold appeal on the trade market. Jurrjens is still young and has shown glimpses of dominance. In 2009, as a 23-year-old, Jurrjens finished the season with a 2.60 ERA and 1.214 WHIP over his 34 starts and 215 innings pitched.
Prado is also still relatively young (28) and has been a successful Major Leaguer in recent years. In 2009-10, Prado combined to hit 78 doubles and 26 home runs while maintaining an OPS north of .810.
Why would the Braves want to give these players up? Each is set to earn around $5 million in 2012. Atlanta does have a bevy of young pitching talent. They have other areas of need, and to get something you have to give.
What they are looking to get is help at shortstop and in the outfield. Atlanta could use the money saved to fill these needs through free agency, or they could look for prospects to fill their holes.
In speaking with the Royals, the Braves have asked about outfielders Wil Myers and Lorenzo Cain. Myers could be their power corner outfield bat of the future, while Cain could eventually replace Michael Bourne, who’s set to become a free agent after 2012.
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