Jair Jurrjens was a popular trade target exactly one year ago, but now he’s days away from hitting the free agent market.
CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Braves plan to non-tender Jurrjens before Friday’s deadline. It doesn’t come a big surprise, as he posted a 6.89 ERA and 19/18 K/BB ratio over 48 1/3 innings at the major league level this season and is set to get a raise from his $5.5 million salary in arbitration. It’s unlikely the Braves will be able to find any trade interest before Friday’s 11:59 p.m. ET non-tender deadline.
Jurrjens has dealt with knee issues over the past couple of years and his velocity has declined right along with it, but there will likely be plenty of teams lining up for the possibility of a rebound. The Curacao native doesn’t turn 27 years old until January.
Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees have signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, pending a physical. Assuming the deal is finalized, Sherman notes that the Yankees will have Niese work as both a starter and a reliever in big league camp this spring.
According to Sherman, the Yankees were interested in lefty relievers Jerry Blevins and Boone Logan, but didn’t want to commit at their asking prices. They are looking for a lefty set-up man along with Tommy Lane.
Niese, 30, pitched for the Pirates and Mets last season, finishing with a 5.50 ERA and an 88/47 K/BB ratio over 121 innings.
Veteran Omar Infante has spent the overwhelming majority of his career as an infielder, but the Tigers plan to give him some playing time in center field this spring. The Tigers’ center field situation is still murky and adding more versatility would increase Infante’s odds of making the roster.
Infante, 35, signed a minor league deal with the Tigers in December. He played 39 games for the Royals last season, batting .239/.279/.321 in 149 plate appearances while playing second base exclusively. Infante last played in the outfield in 2010 with the Braves, and last played center field specifically in ’09 with the Braves.
The Tigers currently have Mikie Mahtook, Tyler Collins, and JaCoby Jones at the top of their center field depth chart. It is not what one would call “optimal.”