Cesar Izturis Rumors
The Astros have agreed to a minor league deal with infielder Cesar Izturis, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (on Twitter). Izturis, who is represented by the Legacy Agency, will receive an invitation to Major League Spring Training.
Izturis spent the 2013 season with Cincinnati, where he batted .209/.259/.271 in 142 plate appearances. A well-regarded defensive shortstop, Izturis posted a +4.8 UZR/150 and was worth +4 runs, according to The Fielding Bible's Defensive Runs Saved metric. Heyman notes that he has a good chance of making the Astros' roster as a utility infielder out of Spring Training.
The Red Sox would benefit most strongly if Masahiro Tanaka were to not be posted, Tim Britton of the Providence Journal writes. If Tanaka were to stay in Japan, not only would he not go to the Yankees, but prices for other starters (such as Ervin Santana and Matt Garza) would rise, and so would the value of the Red Sox's own pitchers, such as John Lackey, Ryan Dempster and Jake Peavy. Also, if Tanaka were to be posted next offseason, the Red Sox might actually bid for him. Right now, they don't have a need. Here are more notes from the East divisions.
- The Blue Jays have offered outfielder Colby Rasmus to two teams in exchange for starting pitching, the Toronto Sun's Bob Elliott writes.
- If Corey Hart doesn't re-sign with the Brewers, the team could quickly deal for Ike Davis of the Mets, tweets Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. Hart could make a decision tonight about where to sign.
- The Mets have had discussions with the Legacy Agency, which represents Freddy Garcia and Cesar Izturis, today, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports (via Twitter). Puma notes the Mets could sign either player.
- The Braves are on the lookout for a hitter for their bench, and Eric Chavez could be their top free agent option, reports MLB.com's Mark Bowman. They also continue to stay in touch with reliever Eric O'Flaherty.
Earlier today the Mets introduced Curtis Granderson at a press conference. Here's the latest news out of the New York market with the Winter Meetings in full swing...
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman spoke to several reporters today, including MLB.com's Bryan Hoch, and noted that he's been in contact with the agents for Mark Reynolds and Boone Logan (Twitter link).
- Hoch also tweets that the Yanks are receiving many calls on Brett Gardner but aren't shopping him. Cashman said he didn't sign Jacoby Ellsbury to trade Gardner.
- The Star-Ledger's Andy McCullough tweets that in addition to Gardner, the Yanks have received calls on Ivan Nova, Gary Sanchez and J.R. Murphy (Twitter link).
- Cashman also said that Michael Pineda is healthy and will compete for a rotation spot in Spring Training (Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News tweeting).
- Hoch adds that Cashman thinks it will be easier to sign a free agent pitcher than to work out a trade for rotation help.
- Newsday's David Lennon reports that the Mets will meet with the representatives for Freddy Garcia, Cesar Izturis and Johan Santana today (Twitter link). The team sees a good fit with that group of veterans.
- Granderson confirmed to reporters, including Newsday's Marc Carig, that the Mets were the lone team to offer four years (Twitter link).
The Marlins have made the most headlines in the NL East today, agreeing to terms with Garrett Jones and talking trades with a number of teams regarding Logan Morrison. There's a lot more going on in the NL East though, and here's a rundown of some news from today...
- The Mets have already had internal discussions regarding Cesar Izturis and plan to meet with his agent in the coming days, according to Mike Puma of the New York Post (on Twitter). Izturis batted just .209/.259/.271 in his age-33 season with the Reds in 2013.
- Andy Martino of the New York Daily News writes that the Mets aren't likely to sign Bartolo Colon or Bronson Arroyo and instead figure to look at back-end type starters like Daisuke Matsuzaka. "We'd be hesitant to give a multi-year deal (to a pitcher), but that doesn't mean we wouldn't," GM Sandy Alderson told Martino. Alderson said he's also had recent discussions with Johan Santana's agent.
- The Nationals aren't interested in adding another catcher at this time, tweets Mark Zuckerman of CSN Washington. GM Mike Rizzo believes that Wilson Ramos can catch 125 games next season, though he's never appeared in more than 113 games in a single Major League season.
- The Nationals have been linked to Eric O'Flaherty a number of times already, but a source told MLB.com's Bill Ladson that that issue will be addressed "down the road." O'Flaherty told Ladson in a phone interview that he's open to going anywhere and also spoke highly of Washington's group of young talent.
- Adding a lefty reliever is one of Rizzo's top priorities, but a deal may not get done this week, reports Dan Kolko of MASNsports.com. Rizzo added that in an ideal world, they'd add more than a lefty specialist, landing someone who can also get right-handed hitters out as well.
- Braves GM Frank Wren told David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he doesn't envision making a move to acquire a front-line player (Twitter link). "I see more support (type) moves," Wren told O'Brien, which O'Brien speculates could mean a power bat for the bench and depth for the bullpen and rotation.
The Reds have designated infielder Jason Donald for assignment and outrighted right-hander Jose Arredondo to Triple-A, tweets John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Donald and Arredondo were both out of options. The Reds now have ten days to either trade, release, or outright Donald to the minors. Arredondo has already cleared waivers, reports Fay (via Twitter).
Donald, acquired from the Indians in the Shin-Soo Choo trade, was beat out by non-roster invitee Cesar Izturis. Fay tweets the deciding factor was Izturis' ability to play shortstop and serve as a backup to starter Zack Cozart.
Arredondo, who is in the final year of a contract he signed in January 2012 and will still be arbitration eligible in 2014 and 2015 as a Super Two, lost out to Manny Parra and Alfredo Simon for a spot in the Reds bullpen.
Despite indications to the contrary, the Twins never called to inquire about the availability of pitcher Anibal Sanchez, according to Darren Wolfson of ESPN 1500. Sanchez, of course, re-signed with the Tigers for five years and $80MM earlier this offseason. Here's more out of Minnesota, courtesy of Wolfson..
- The Twins still have interest in free agent outfielder Scott Podsednik, but they're not looking to sign free agent outfielder Ryan Sweeney. We recently learned that the Mets aren't among the teams in on Podsednik. The club had brief talks with Sweeney's representatives earlier in the winter.
- Minnesota had interest in signing free agent starter Freddy Garcia in December but they haven't checked in on him since. The Twins have also cut off contact with free agent pitcher Manny Parra. The Twins, along with the Reds and Rockies, were said to be interested in Garcia late last year.
- The Twins have not inquired about free agent shortstop Jason Bartlett, nor free agent second baseman Kelly Johnson.
- The Twins never made an offer to shortstop Cesar Izturis, who signed a minor league deal with the Reds on Wednesday. General Manager Terry Ryan & Co. never had an interest in free agent starter Aaron Cook before he signed with the Phillies either.
- Minnesota could have free agent starter Armando Galarraga on a minor league deal but aren't interested in him. The right-hander hooked on with the Astros on a minor league contract last year after being cut by the Orioles.
“He adds competition, mainly defensively and he provides insurance,” Reds GM Walt Jocketty said of Izturis.
Izturis posted a .241/.254/.343 batting line in 173 plate appearances for the Brewers and Nationals in 2012. The 32-year-old played all four infield positions with Milwaukee and appeared at second base, third base and shortstop with Washington.
Here's the latest from the Winter Meetings on a handful of free agents:
- Roy Oswalt is unsure about whether he'll pitch in 2013, one of his agents tells Morosi.
- The Mariners checked in on Delmon Young, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Morosi reported previously that Young might wait until January to sign given his November ankle surgery.
- Grady Sizemore had been drawing interest from a few clubs, including the Red Sox, but he won't be a real option until midseason, according to MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince. Agent Joe Urbon confirmed to Castrovince that his client underwent microfracture surgery on his right knee in September.
- Besides being interested in Scott Hairston, the Yankees are also eyeing Cody Ross, according to Jon Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter link).
- The Mariners have checked in on Ryan Ludwick, among other hitters, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
- Cesar Izturis' reps are expected to meet with the Mets this week and there could be a match there, writes Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com.
- The Orioles' interest in righty Brett Myers appears minimal, tweets Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun, and they have no meetings set up with his reps.
- The Twins are one team with early interest in southpaw John Lannan, tweets Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. The Pirates also have an eye on Lannan, reported Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review earlier today.
- The Cubs are talking to many agents about bullpen help and they like Jason Grilli, tweets Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.
- Solid interest in Jason Bay (from teams other than Boston) may lead to a Major League deal, tweets Rob Bradford of WEEI.
- The Marlins are interested in utility man Mark DeRosa, according to Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. The 37-year-old had indicated at season's end that he was unsure what his future held.
- The Royals are "sending out signals" that they have the money and the motivation to pursue a pitcher who could be considered a No. 1, reports Danny Knobler of CBS Sports. A run at Anibal Sanchez isn't out of the question for Kansas City, according to Knobler.
- Tigers people continue to say the team isn't even considering Rafael Soriano, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post. However, Sherman notes that owner Mike Ilitch's great relationship with Scott Boras still makes Detroit a wild card in the Soriano sweepstakes.
- Rival executives view the Nationals as a good fit for Mike Pelfrey, especially considering GM Mike Rizzo and Scott Boras have a history of working out deals, says Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com (Twitterlinks).
- Teams are showing "no hesitation whatsoever" in pursuing Jeff Keppinger, who underwent surgery to repair a right fibula fracture, agent Keith Grunewald tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitterlinks).
- Jason Giambi would like to continue his playing career, and is drawing interest from three or four teams, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
THURSDAY: The Jays actually signed Julio Izturis, rather than Cesar, reports Mike Cormack of Sportsnet.ca. So, to date, only two of the three Izturis brothers are members of the Blue Jays organization (Maicer and Cesar are half-brothers). Julio is a 23-year-old infielder who last appeared in pro ball with the Giants' Low-A affiliate in 2011.
Izturis, 32, hit .241/.254/.343 with two homers in 173 plate appearances for the Brewers and Nationals this season while playing the three non-first base infield positions. He originally started his career with the Blue Jays, who signed him as a amateur free agent out of Venezuela back in 1996. Toronto signed his half-brother Maicer to a three-year contract earlier this offseason.
The Mets announced that Johan Santana isn't expected to pitch again in 2012 after an MRI revealed inflammation in his lower back. The Mets say no surgery is required for Santana, who returned from a shoulder capsule operation to post a 4.85 ERA in 117 innings this year. Here are today’s links...
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports suggests the Athletics will rely on internal options to replace the recently-suspended Bartolo Colon (Twitter link). If the Athletics do pursue outside alternatives Randy Wolf would be one option now that he has been released.
- David Ross and Drew Storen have been impressed by MLBPA executive director Michael Weiner, Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com reports. "I'm a backup catcher, but he knew every detail of my career and my negotiations," Ross said. Weiner plans to continue to work on behalf of the players while undergoing treatment for a brain tumor.
- There's virtually no chance Cesar Izturis returns to the Nationals this year, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post reports (on Twitter). The infielder elected free agency earlier in the week.