UPDATE: Or not. Mark Sheldon of MLB.com hears that the Reds do not appear to be seriously pursuing Jurrjens. Another issue is that the two sides don’t match up well for a deal. The Braves are said to be looking for a power-hitting outfielder in return while the Reds best trade chips — Yonder Alonso and Juan Francisco — don’t exactly fit the bill.
7:40 PM: Jon Heyman of SI.com reports that the Reds are “very interested” in a potential deal for Braves right-hander Jair Jurrjens.
It’s not clear who the Braves would ask for in return, but they are in the process of gauging interest in an effort to clear salary to upgrade their lineup. As you may recall, Jurrjens was floated in a potential deal with the Royals last month.
Jurrjens earned $3.25 million in 2011 while posting a 2.96 ERA and 90/44 K/BB ratio over 152 innings. His salary could rise north of $5 million in his second year of arbitration.
While Heyman notes that 10 teams have expressed interest in Jurrjens, the potential return could be impacted by concerns about his troublesome right knee. The 25-year-old right-hander had arthroscopic surgery on the knee last October and was limited to just seven starts after the All-Star break this season due to a bone bruise.
1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion signed a three-year, $60 million contract with the Indians early last month. The 34-year-old had spent the last seven and a half seasons with the Blue Jays, but his future elsewhere appeared to be written on the wall when the Jays signed Kendrys Morales in November to essentially occupy Encarnacion’s role.
Encarnacion spoke about testing free agency for the first time in his career and the situation that led to him leaving Toronto for Cleveland. Via Jorge L. Ortiz of USA TODAY:
“Toronto was always my first option, but I had never been a free agent, and anybody who gets to free agency wants to find out what’s out there,’’ he said. “I think they got too hasty in making their decision, but now I’m with Cleveland and I’m happy to be here.’’
Encarnacion last season hit .263/.357/.529 with 42 home runs and an AL-best 127 RBI. He’s now on the team that defeated his Blue Jays in the ALCS to advance to the World Series. Encarnacion effectively replaces Mike Napoli, who returned to the Rangers.
I’m on record saying that Sammy Sosa has been rather hosed by baseball history.
The guy did amazing things. Unheard-of things. He was truly astounding at this peak and was incredibly important to both his franchise and Major League Baseball as a whole. His repayment: he’s a pariah. His club won’t claim him and his greatness, by any measure, has not just been overlooked but denied by most who even bother to consider him.
Yes, he had PED associations, but they were extraordinarily vague ones. He’s in the same boat as David Ortiz as far as documented PED evidence against him, but Ortiz will be a first ballot Hall of Famer while Sosa barely clings to the ballot. He hit homers at the same cartoonish rate as Mark McGwire, but while Big Mac has been embraced by baseball and has coached for years, Sosa can’t get into Wrigley Field unless he buys a ticket and even then the Cubs might try to hustle him out of sight. The man has been treated poorly by any measure.
Yet, it’s still possible to overstate the case. Like Sosa did in this interview with Chuck Wasserstrom:
It’s like Jesus Christ when he came to Jerusalem,” Sosa told chuckbloggerstrom.com. “Everybody thought Jesus Christ was a witch (laughing) — and he was our savior. So if they talk (bleep) about Jesus Christ, what about me? Are you kidding me?”
At least he was basically joking about it. Still, it’s a totally unfair and almost offensive comparison.
I mean, anyone who watched Sosa’s career knows that he had trouble laying off breaking stuff low and away. In contrast . . .