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January 27, 2013 at 10:10 pm ET
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All-Time Leader in Hard “J” Sounds is Now an Oriole

This is the time each year when I read in the newspaper that the Orioles are interested in the guy with all the Js and Rs in his name. Plays for the Braves, right? Pitcher, I think. Used to be good. And then tradition dictates that nothing happens. I’d see the J/R guy’s name a few times during the season. I might even hear someone speak it and remind myself to try to remember how it’s pronounced. But then I forget.

Are the Js silent? He’s from Curacao, right? Wait, is that Spanish or Dutch? And is Curacao a country or is it some kind of blue booze? And isn’t there a curly tail thing hanging off one of those letters in the middle of Curacao?

It’s exhausting. I was always opposed to trading Adam Jones for Jair Jurrjens, mainly because Adam Jones is so much easier to pronounce.

Smitty, you’re an ignoramus.

Guilty, your honor. But come on. Here’s the really messed up part: You know how Jair Jurrjens is pronounced?

Exactly like it’s spelled!

No kidding! Click on this link if you don’t believe me. Juh-ear Jurr-jens. Whoa. That’s bad name feng shui. Too many “Juh’s.” And in case y0u wondered, sure, there’s a little Spanish spoken on the island of Curacao. But the main language is Papiamento. You’re welcome. NOW who’s the ignoramus?

Shaddap about it, willya smitty?

OK, OK. But here’s why I bring it up. Jair Jurrjens was nontendered by the Braves following a season spent bouncing back and forth to triple-A. He turned in a 2012 big-league ERA of 6.89.

Snort! What?! Six eighty-nine!? For a starter? That’s not an ERA; it’s the price of the Memphis BBQ Burger at Carl’s Jr. NOTE: Bugs&Cranks totally is not sponsored by Carl’s Jr. Not yet, anyway.

But like I said, he used to be good. As recently as 2011, Jurrjens went 13 and 6 for Atlanta with an ERA under three. And so, after years of rumored interest, the Orioles are about to sign Jurrjens. He’ll take a physical in Baltimore this week and sign for a reported $1.5 million, with incentives worth another potential $2.5 million.

Jurrjens tells the Baltimore Sun he’s healthy now and is thrilled to come to Baltimore. He watched the O’s-Yankees playoff series and is jazzed to pitch in a baseball-wacky town and ballpark. So that’s cool.

But how about that health? He had a groin thing that landed him on the DL last year. And he got dizzy pitching in a minor league game and had to leave. Weird. Chalk it up, I guess, to a bad year.

He’s a low-risk, relatively low-cost pickup. We’ll see how he looks in spring training. But how many guys with 125 career starts and a lifetime 3.62 ERA get nontendered? Hard to believe the Braves don’t know something the Orioles don’t.

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