It was almost three weeks ago that the Baltimore Orioles announced the agreement to sign Jair Jurrjens to a Major League contract. Friday, the deal with Jurrens was at last finalized, but it became a Minor League contract with an invite to Spring Training.
So what in the world happened? Well there are several rumors out there, but this is was Orioles101 is confident in reporting. Jurrjens' physical results were no where near what the Orioles were expecting. After weeks of "renegotiations" the Orioles and Jurrjens announced Friday that a deal had finally been signed, but it was now a Minor League Deal with an invite to Spring Training. The biggest issue I have been told, is Jurrjens knee that almost appears to be completely shot, which is why the Major League contract was no longer an option for Baltimore.
Perhaps the most intriguing part of the newly announced finalized contract is that there is an opt out clause for Jurrjens. The deal states that Jurrjens can opt out of the contract if he begins the season in the minors and is not called up to Baltimore by a certain date. When asked about the date, Orioles GM/Executive Vice President Dan Duquette joked that he could not remember the exact date.
No matter the date, Jurrjens is going to have to really show Baltimore something in order for them to promote him to the big league club due to their massive amount of depth at starting pitcher. Now that the contract is a minor league deal, Baltimore will not nearly have to pay as much as they originally would have, and it gives them more lee-way to be able to truly judge and analyze Jurrjens ability.
Although I do not know the date, I would guess it would be something around June 1st, and as much as I would like to see the Orioles find a diamond in the rough in Jurrjens, I believe that he will opt out of his contract at whatever date it states, because he is not going to be called up to the big leagues. Think about it, he is going to have to re-learn his mechanics in order to be able to pitch pain free in his right knee, and to be able to do that within an entire season would be impressive, nonetheless the short time frame he has with his opt out date.
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