Tuesday, January 17, 2012
Michael Bourn, Jair Jurrjens reach deals
ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Braves avoided arbitration Tuesday, agreeing to one-year deals with outfielder Michael Bourn for $6.845,000, starting pitcher Jair Jurrjens for $5.5 million and reliever Eric O'Flaherty for $2.49 million.
The agreements were reached just before teams and players exchanged figures for arbitration hearings.
The Braves also agreed on a minor league contract with free-agent reliever Peter Moylan, who missed most of last season with injuries but had been a key member of the Atlanta bullpen.
Bourn, who got a raise from $4.4 million, was acquired from Houston in July just ahead of the trade deadline. He led the NL in stolen bases for the third straight year with 61 and provided the Braves with a much-needed leadoff hitter. Barring a long-term deal, he can become a free agent after the 2012 season.
Jurrjens, who made $3.25 million last season, was selected for his first All-Star game and went 13-6 with a 2.96 ERA. But he barely pitched in the second half because of a knee injury that required surgery, and he's been mentioned frequently in trade talks with the Braves having a surplus of top pitching prospects.
The deal with Jurrjens also includes $150,000 in performance bonuses: $25,000 each for 175, 180, 190, 200, 210 and 215 innings.
O'Flaherty is a key member of the bullpen with Craig Kimbrel and Jonny Venters. The left-hander received a significant raise from his $895,000 salary after the best year of his career, a dominating 0.98 ERA in 78 appearances.
With all arbitration-eligible players now under contract, the Braves are likely to have a payroll of around $80 million if they stick with the current roster. They also owe $10 million of Derek Lowe's salary, even though he was dealt to Cleveland, which means total obligations will be in line with last season's $91 million.
That left in the room in the budget for a low-risk deal with Moylan, who underwent rotator cuff surgery but hopes to be recovered sometime around the start of the season. While the right-hander pitched only 13 times last season, he made at least 80 appearances three of the four previous years. The 33-year-old Australian was one of the team's main setup relievers, proving especially effective in ground-ball situations.