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Atlanta Braves Avoid Arbitration with Michael Bourn, Jair Jurrjens

January 17th, 2012 at 9:03 PM
By Cody Fields

The Atlanta Braves managed to avoid salary arbitration with their final two eligible players by agreeing to terms with Michael Bourn and Jair Jurrjens on Tuesday.

The Braves have now signed all four of their arbitration-eligible players. Martin Prado signed Friday, and Eric O'Flaherty signed Monday night.

Bourn will make $6.845 million as he enters his final arbitration-eligible season and prepares for possibly becoming a free-agent next winter. Jurrjens will make $5.5 million this year and have a chance to receive up to $150,000 in bonuses if he reaches 175, 180, 190, 200, 210 and 215 innings pitched to the tune of $25,000 each.

Jurrjens, who has spent most of his offseason in Atlanta conditioning, has been the subject of a plethora of trade rumors, and there is still a chance that he could be dealt.

Jurrjens led the National League with a 1.87 ERA during the first half of the season before struggling over his last seven starts with a 5.88 ERA. His bothersome right knee caused him to miss all of September, though the Braves were planning on starting him in the National League Division Series, had they made the playoffs. He did however, pitch well in an instructional league game the day after the regular season ended.

Bourn, while just being acquired from the Houston Astros on July 31, has led the Majors in steals the past three seasons. Last season saw him hit for career highs in batting average (.296) and slugging percentage (.386).

Bourn his .271 in his 53 games with the Braves and stole 22 bags over the last two months. In total, he stole 61 bases in 75 attempts to tie his career high. He has stolen at least 41 bases in each of the last four years. Since 1994, Rafael Furcal is the only Brave to steal 40 bases in a season (2000 and 2005).

Though Bourn has baseball super agent Scott Boras and could draw a lot of attention on the free-agent market, the Braves front office has acknowledged the possibility of keeping Bourn around with a long term deal.

Tags: Atlanta, Atlanta Braves, Jair Jurrjens, Michael Bourn, MLB

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