Maicer Izturis Rumors

Maicer Izturis Likely Out 4-6 Months

The Blue Jays have announced that infielder Maicer Izturis' MRI revealed a "complete tear" of the lateral collateral ligament (LCL) in his left knee that will require surgery to repair. Izturis wil seek a second opinion before scheduling the surgery, which typically has a recovery time of four to six months, per the Jays' release.

Izturis, 33, got off to a respectable start this season, batting .286/.324/.314 in his first 38 plate appearances. However, as the National Post's John Lott tweets, the veteran infielder felt two "pops" in his leg after slipping down the dugout steps in Baltimore this weekend.

Izturis is in the second season of a three-year, $10MM contract signed with the Jays prior to the 2013 campaign. He struggled in his first year with Toronto, batting .236/.288/.310 despite owning a vastly superior .274/.336/.381 triple-slash line in the four-year span that preceded his free agency. The loss of Izturis further exposes the Jays' need for infield help, as Ryan Goins has little offensive upside, Jose Reyes is on the disabled list and Brett Lawrie has struggled at the plate in the early-going.


Quick Hits: Cubs, Zambrano, Amaro, McDonald

Cubs manager Dale Sveum says his team has no intention of releasing struggling reliever Carlos Marmol and eating the rest of his $9.8MM salary, Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune reports. "We've come to find out that he has trouble with the last three outs," says Sveum. "But somebody has to pitch the other innings, and he's done a pretty good job in that role." Marmol allowed four runs in the ninth as the Cubs lost to the Mets 4-3 on Sunday. Here are more notes from around the National League.

  • The Cubs' bullpen has struggled this season, but in the aftermath of this summer's trading season, the team's rotation could end up being just as weak, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times writes. Last season, the Cubs performed poorly down the stretch after the departures of two productive starters in Ryan Dempster and Paul Maholm. This year, Wittenmyer says, Matt Garza and Scott Feldman could be those pitchers' 2013 equivalents.
  • Phillies starter Jonathan Pettibone struggled Saturday, but GM Ruben Amaro Jr. says that Carlos Zambrano won't be replacing Pettibone right away, Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com writes. "Not based on what I saw his last outing, not in my mind," says Amaro. "I’d like to see him pitch again [in the minors]. We’ll keep a close eye on his starts and how effective he is. But he’s not ready yet in my mind." Zambrano has an out clause July 1. He allowed two runs in five innings in his first outing for Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Thursday, striking out five and walking four. His fastball did not exceed 88 MPH.
  • Speaking of Amaro, Bob Brookover of the Inquirer argues that "the bad has outweighed the good" in Amaro's stint as GM, and that it's unclear whether Amaro is the right person for the job. Amaro's signing of Joe Blanton and trade for Hunter Pence rank among his worst moves, Brookover says.
  • Pirates GM Neal Huntington says James McDonald's future with the team could be in jeopardy, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Karen Price writes in a pair of tweets. "As the clock ticks we’ll have to make a determination as to where James best fits in this group, on this club, or does he fit," says Huntington. "That’s a question to be answered ultimately by James McDonald." McDonald, once viewed as a potential franchise building block after promising seasons in 2010 and 2011 and a great first half in 2012, has fallen out of favor after collapsing down the stretch last year and posting a 5.76 ERA with 20 walks in six 2013 starts. He has also struggled in his rehab starts since landing on the disabled list with shoulder discomfort.
  • If the Blue Jays had already acquired Jose Reyes and Emilio Bonifacio from the Marlins, they wouldn't have signed Maicer Izturis, Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star argues. Izturis signed a three-year, $10MM deal in November, and the Jays acquired Reyes and Bonifacio days later. Izturis has hit .222/.258/.308 this season.

Quick Hits: Profar, Rodriguez, Kawasaki, Cubs

The Rangers should seriously consider trading Jurickson Profar, Randy Galloway of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram writes. Galloway argues that, despite Davis' strong 2012 and brilliant start in 2013, he won't criticize Jon Daniels' 2011 trade of Chris Davis (and Tommy Hunter) for Koji Uehara, because the trade was intended to position Texas for a World Series run, and the Rangers did in fact make it to the World Series. If the Rangers can arrange a Profar trade that sets them up for another run at a title, Galloway argues that they should make the deal and live with the results. Rangers assistant GM Thad Levine, however, tells ESPN's Jim Bowden that, while the Rangers will likely be active at this year's trade deadline, they plan to keep Profar, Elvis Andrus and Ian Kinsler, rather than dealing one of them (both links via Twitter).

As a side note, Galloway calls the Davis/Uehara deal "the worst MLB trade of this decade," even though he refrains from criticizing Daniels for it. Uehara was excellent for the Rangers, particularly in 2012, but he's since moved on, and Davis is currently hitting .357/.440/.754 with 20 home runs for the Orioles. Here are more notes from around baseball.

  • Yankees GM Brian Cashman discusses Alex Rodriguez's ten-year, $275MM contract in an interview with ESPN's Buster Olney. Rodriguez and the Yankees are currently in the sixth year of the deal, and Rodriguez will make $86MM from 2014 through 2017. Rodriguez has not yet played in 2013. "Alex would even tell you he couldn't live up to [the contract]," Cashman says. "Hopefully he can return to being, at the very least, an above-average player at that position."
  • When Jose Reyes returns, the Blue Jays will have to decide what to do with Munenori Kawasaki, Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star writes. Due to the Jays' contractual obligations to Maicer Izturis and the presence of Emilio Bonifacio and Mark DeRosa, there would appear to be no space for Kawasaki once Reyes returns. Griffin suggests that the trade market for Izturis could be better than that of Kawasaki, though the Jays might have to pay some of the approximately $9MM remaining on Izturis' contract.
  • Cubs manager Dale Sveum is hoping for an infusion of arms in this week's draft, Fred Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune reports. "Obviously pitching is what you want to get in the organization as much as you possibly can," says Sveum. When the Cubs make the No. 2 overall selection, either Oklahoma's Jonathan Gray or Stanford's Mark Appel, or perhaps both, will still be on the board.
  • Twins GM Terry Ryan discusses the role of general managers in the draft in an interview with 1500ESPN's Phil Mackey. GMs generally get credit or blame for their draft picks, but other front office personnel may be more responsible for those picks. "My role would be to take the blame when we don't do well, but I also get the praise when we do well. That's not fair," says Ryan. For example, Ryan discusses his role in the selection of Ben Revere, the No. 28 overall pick in the 2007 Draft. "That's a pick that I got praise for I think at the time. I didn't have anything to do with Ben Revere. (Our scouts) did. They all had seen him a lot. I get the praise. 'Good pick, there you go Terry.' Hell, I never even saw (Revere)."
  • Quintin Berry, who was recently designated for assignment by the Tigers, could make it through waivers and wind up back with Triple-A Toledo, MLB.com's Jason Beck tweets. Given that Berry is 28 and has hit just .168/.278/.234 so far for Toledo this season, that seems to be a fairly likely scenario.
  • When the Blue Jays begin a series in San Francisco Tuesday night, Melky Cabrera will face Giants fans for the first time since being suspended last August for failing a PED test, MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm reports. Cabrera vanished after receiving word of the suspension, not talking to the San Francisco media. He then signed a two-year, $16MM contract with the Jays in the offseason. Cabrera says he isn't concerned with how the fans will react to his return. "I don't worry about that, it's up to the fans. It's nothing I have control of," Cabrera explains. "I'm just going to play the game. If they decide to boo, that's fine. If they decide to cheer, that's fine with me, too. But, I'm not going to worry about that."


AL Notes: Twins, Gibbons, Reyes, Price, Jackie Bradley

The Twins have devoted only 22.5% of their 2013 payroll to pitching (MLB average is 49.8%) and haven't exceeded the league average since 2005. Phil Miller of the Star Tribune writes perhaps no statistic better illustrates the Twins' dry spell in developing pitching prospects. "It’s not by design. It’s not like we said, 'Let’s spend less on pitching and go another way,'" said Twins assistant GM Rob Antony. "When we’ve spent a lot on a contract, more often than not, it’s on players we already have, that we know. We know how they fit in the clubhouse, and we know their health situation. It makes you a little more comfortable with the investment." Miller notes several pitching investments have been wasted because of injuries including this year's highest-paid pitcher Nick Blackburn ($5.5MM), who was removed from the 40-man roster as he recovers from wrist surgery. One investment that does seem to be paying dividends is Kevin Correia, who signed a two-year, $10MM free agent contract last December. The right-hander tossed eight shutout innings and lowered his ERA to 2.31 in the Twins' 5-0 win over the Rangers. In other news and notes from the American League:

  • After a four-game sweep at the hands of the Yankees, the seat is becoming hotter for Blue Jays manager John Gibbons. CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman calls this a big test for Gibbons while Keith Law of ESPN.com says it's too early to think about firing the skipper (Twitter links).
  • Before the game, Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos met with the media, including Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca, and said he doesn't expect Jose Reyes back until the beginning of July "just to make sure that we do this correctly and we don’t have any setbacks." In the meantime, the plan is use Munenori Kawasaki and Maicer Izturis because Anthopoulos said the costs of going outside the organization for a Reyes replacement "don’t line up for us with what our alternatives are."
  • Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg reiterated his team's ability to afford David Price in an interview with WFAN (partial transcript provided by the Tampa Bay Times' Marc Topkin). "We can; I don't know if we'll have any team around him other than him and (Evan) Longoria."
  • In the same interview, Sternberg said he expects the Rays' next TV contract to be "big relative to the size of our attendance" but "mid-sized market" compared to other teams.  
  • The Red Sox prefer to give Shane Victorino some time to work out his back issues rather than trying to bring Jackie Bradley back too soon, tweets the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo. Victorino underwent an MRI yesterday, which revealed inflammation in his lower back. Bradley, meanwhile, is 7-for-31 with 10 strikeouts and five walks since being optioned to Triple-A.

Blue Jays Notes: Bullpen, Izturis, Bonifacio

The Blue Jays have been one of the busiest teams this offseason, per MLBTR's Transaction Tracker. GM Alex Anthopoulos has traded a manager (John Farrell), hired his replacement (John Gibbons, his second stint in Toronto), acquired the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey, Jose ReyesJosh JohnsonMark BuehrleEmilio Bonifacio, Josh Thole, Mike Nickeas, and Esmil Rogers while signing free agents Melky Cabrera, Maicer Izturis, Henry Blanco, and Mark DeRosa. Is there anything left for Anthopoulos to do before pitchers and catchers report to Dunedin on February 12? MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm answered that question and others when he opened his inbox recently.

  • The remaining moves the Blue Jays have left to make are minor league signings for organizational depth, writes Chisholm. 
  • The only real area of competition is the bullpen. Casey Janssen and Sergio Santos will battle to be the closer. Right-hander Jeremy Jeffress is a favorite to win a job, as he is out of options. Chisholm thinks Brandon Lyon would add a reliable veteran presence to the bullpen, but doesn't see the Blue Jays re-signing the right-hander because the team has reached its payroll limit.
  • It appears Izturis received some sort of promise from the organization he would be the starting second baseman before agreeing to his three-year, $10MM deal, according to Chisholm. Look for Bonifacio to be used in a super utility role even though, in Chisholm's view, he has more upside than Izturis and would bring another element of speed to the lineup.
  • Don't expect Kyle Drabek and Drew Hutchison, both recovering from Tommy John surgery, to make a major impact until 2014.
  • The Blue Jays' farm system has been weakened by the flurry of trades this offseason. Chisholm notes there's talent in the lower levels, which is at least three years away, but that isn't a concern for the Blue Jays because their core is tied up for a similar period at the big league level.    

Blue Jays Sign Maicer Izturis

12:49pm: The Blue Jays have announced the signing (on Twitter). It's a three-year, $9MM contract with a $3MM club option for 2016. 

12:05pm: The Blue Jays have agreed to sign Maicer Izturis to a three-year, $10MM contract according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (Twitter links). The deal includes a club option for a fourth year. Izturis is represented by Peter E. Greenberg & Associates.

Uspw_6498750As Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca points out (on Twitter), this is the largest contract GM Alex Anthopoulos has given to a free agent. The one-year deals worth $4.5MM given to Darren Oliver and Francisco Cordero last offseason were the previous record holders. Our Transaction Tracker has the breakdown of Anthopoulos' free agent signings.

Izturis, 32, hit .256/.320/.315 in 319 plate appearances for the Angels this year, his worst full season as a big leaguer. He won't hit for any power, but Izturis makes a lot of contact from both sides of the plate and is a capable defender at all three non-first base infield positions. He's also a threat to steal double digit bases. Izturis has hit .264/.327/.360 in 1,051 plate appearances across the last three years overall.

The Blue Jays figured to target infield depth this winter since Kelly Johnson is a free agent and Yunel Escobar is a trade candidate. They briefly had Mike Aviles after acquiring him from the Red Sox for manager John Farrell, but he's since been flipped to the Indians. Izturis did not rank among Tim Dierkes' Top 50 Free Agents.

Photo courtesy of US Presswire.


Blue Jays Close To Deal With Maicer Izturis

The Blue Jays are close to a deal with Maicer Izturis, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). Last night we heard that Toronto may be close to signing an infielder, and Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca heard that it would not be Ryan Theriot (Twitter link).

Izturis, 32, hit just .256/.320/.315 in 319 plate appearances for the Angels this year, his worst full season as a big leaguer. He won't hit for any power, but Izturis makes a lot of contact and is a capable defender at all three non-first base infield positions. He's also a threat to steal double digit bases. Izturis is represented by Peter E. Greenberg & Associates.

The Blue Jays figure to add infield depth this offseason since Kelly Johnson is a free agent and Yunel Escobar is a trade candidate. They briefly had Mike Aviles after acquiring him from the Red Sox for manager John Farrell, but he's since been flipped to the Indians.

This post was originally published on November 8th.


Angels To Pursue Pitching, Hunter

The Angels will make significant changes to their roster following a season that included many positive developments before ending in disappointment, Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports. The team enters the offseason with a number of top priorities: re-signing free agents Zack Greinke and Torii Hunter, adding at least one more starting pitcher, improving the bullpen and trading Vernon Wells.

The Angels will likely let Dan Haren, Ervin Santana, LaTroy Hawkins, Jason Isringhausen and Maicer Izturis go, DiGiovanna reports. Haren has said he’d consider returning for less than the value of his $15.5MM option. Santana recently suggested he’s prepared for a change if the Angels decline his 2013 option, as expected.

The Angels have “a tremendous interest” in re-signing Hunter, general manager Jerry Dipoto said. The GM confirmed that the Angels would “like to explore” contract talks with the agent for Greinke. Both players have significant leverage after playing well in 2012, but Dipoto pointed out that the Angels have “never been short of resources." Just don’t expect them to use those resources on relief pitchers. Spending lavishly on relievers "is akin to going to Las Vegas and throwing it down on double-zero green," Dipoto said.


Quick Hits: Cain, Hosmer, Team Values, Izturis

Ichiro Suzuki and Yoenis Cespedes are the early stars of this young 2012 season, with the rest of the league waiting until next week to catch up to the Mariners and Athletics.  Here's some news from around the majors…

  • Matt Cain reiterated to reporters (including Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle) that Opening Day is the "cutoff" for contract talks between him and the Giants.  Cain said Giants GM Brian Sabean feels the same way.  Larry Baer, the team's CEO, discussed the Cain negotiations and more in a live chat with fans earlier today.
  • Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer is in no hurry to sign a multiyear contract, he tells Tyler Kepner of the New York Times.  "There’s a long time for that coming,” Hosmer said of a possible contract extension. “For me, I haven’t even experienced an opening day yet….I feel like it wouldn’t even be fair to this team to start thinking about that.”  Last January, MLBTR's Mike Axisa featured Hosmer as an extension candidate.
  • Sports business consultant Marc Ganis tells ESPN New York's Adam Rubin that if the Dodgers are worth $2.15 billion, it greatly raises the ceiling for the prices of baseball's big-market teams.  Ganis estimates the Yankees would be worth $4 billion, the Red Sox $2.5 billion and the Mets roughly $1.5 billion.  Only the biggest markets would have higher price tags, however, since they offer the most lucrative local broadcasting deals.
  • Also from Henry Schulman (Twitter links), Gregor Blanco says he chose the Giants over the Marlins in the offseason since San Francisco hitting coach Hensley Meulens promised Blanco a legitimate chance at a roster spot.  It looks like Blanco made the right choice, as he's poised to start the season in the majors after a big Spring Training.
  • Alexi Amarista's impressive camp has made him a candidate for a utility job with the Angels, but Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times says Amarista is too inexperienced at the big league level to make Maicer Izturis expendable.  Izturis' name has been connected to a few trade rumors this spring as several teams are in the market for infielders.
  • Cesar Izturis (Maicer's older brother) has been told he will make the Brewers' roster, says team media director Mike Vassallo (Twitter link).  Izturis' minor league deal with Milwaukee allowed him to ask for his release if he wasn't on the 40-man roster by March 30, but now his $875K salary for 2012 is guaranteed.
  • MLB.com's Jordan Bastian (via Twitter) predicts the Indians to make a "big roster reduction" on Saturday as the team starts to pare down its roster from its current 41-player state.  Bastian says the Tribe has been "looking at trades" as well, and indeed Cleveland has at least one notable deal reportedly in the works.
  • If the Angels cut Jason Isringhausen, the veteran reliever tells MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez that he'll probably retire, though there's a slight chance he'll keep pitching if he gets the right offer.  "It depends on who's that team that might call, who they'd be," Isringhausen said.

NL East Notes: Vizcaino, Phillies, Mets, Lannan

Earlier today MLBTR's Tim Dierkes reviewed the Marlins' busy offseason. Here are some more links from the NL East…

  • Braves GM Frank Wren told reporters that reliever Arodys Vizcaino will miss the 2012 season after undergoing Tommy John ligament replacement surgery. The 21-year-old right-hander appeared in 17 games with the Braves last year and entered the season as the 40th-best prospect in MLB, according to Baseball America.
  • The Phillies could start the season with prospect Freddy Galvis at second base, or explore the trade market for alternatives. ESPN.com’s Buster Olney hears from rival executives that there’s a short list of veteran middle infielders available in trades. Maicer Izturis, Alberto Callaspo, Chris Getz and Blake DeWitt appear to be options for teams seeking infield depth. 
  • Even though they're short on left-handed relief, the Mets are unlikely to sign C.J. Nitkowski, Hong-Chih Kuo or Dontrelle Willis, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com reports.
  • Jayson Stark of ESPN.com hears the Nationals "still have a lot of motivation" to trade John Lannan and his $5MM salary (Twitter link).