Ready or not, Jair Jurrjens is rejoining the Braves’ rotation

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Jair Jurrjens is on his way back to the majors two months after being demoted to Triple-A, as Carroll Rogers of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that the Braves will call him up to make Friday’s start against the Red Sox.

Brandon Beachy’s elbow injury opened the door for Jurrjens’ return, but he hasn’t exactly been impressive at Triple-A. Jurrjens has a 5.27 ERA in nine starts there overall, including two outings in which he allowed double-digit runs, and he gave up four runs in 6.2 innings in his most recent appearance.

Jurrjens has been terrible in the minors and majors since the middle of last season, so the Braves are definitely taking a risk by bringing him back this soon and even Fredi Gonzalez seemed less than convinced that he’s ready to thrive again versus big-leaguer hitters, saying:

He’s made some progress. His velocity has been up there. There’s some separation there with his change-up, so we’re going to give him a shot. He’s been an All-Star, he has the experience. Give him an opportunity again. I’m curious when he comes back to see how he pitches.

Atlanta could have left Jurrjens in the minors and given a spot start to Kris Medlen, but the Braves are choosing to leave him in the bullpen instead. They also could have shifted to a four-man rotation, but Tim Hudson’s ankle problems make that problematic.

Noah Syndergaard: ‘I feel like I’m going to bet (on) myself in free agency’

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Yankees starter Luis Severino and Phillies starter Aaron Nola both signed contract extensions within the last week. Severino agreed to a four-year, $40 million contract with a 2023 club option. Nola inked a four-year, $45 million deal with a 2023 club option.

While the deals both represented significant raises and longer-term financial security for the right-handed duo, some feel like the players are selling themselves short. It has become a more common practice for players to agree to these types of deals in part due to how stagnant free agency has become. Get the money while you can.

Mets starter Noah Syndergaard is in a similar situation as Severino and Nola were. He and the Mets avoided arbitration last month, agreeing on a $6 million salary for the 2019 season. He has two more years of arbitration eligibility left. A contract extension with the Mets would presumably cover both of those years plus two or three years of what would be free agent years. As Tim Britton of The Athletic reports, however, Syndergaard plans to test free agency when the time comes.

Syndergaard said, “I trust my ability and the talent that I have. So I feel like I’m going to bet (on) myself in free agency and not do what they did. But if it’s fair for both sides and they approach me on it, then maybe we can talk.” He clarified that he would be open to a conversation about an extension, but the Mets thus far haven’t approached him about it. In his words, “There’s been no traction.”

Syndergaard, 26, has been one of baseball’s better starters since debuting in 2015. He owns a career 2.93 ERA with 573 strikeouts and 116 walks in 518 1/3 innings. Among pitchers to have logged at least 400 innings since 2015 and post a lower ERA are Clayton Kershaw (2.22), Jacob deGrom (2.66) and Max Scherzer (2.71). Syndergaard made only seven starts in 2017 yet still ranks seventh among pitchers in total strikeouts since 2015.

If Sydergaard doesn’t end up signing an extension, he will be entering free agency after the 2021 season. The collective bargaining agreement expires in December 2021 and a new one will likely be agreed upon around that time. Syndergaard will hopefully have better prospects entering free agency then than players do now.