Maicer Izturis Rumors

Maicer Izturis Likely Out For Year After Shoulder Surgery

Blue Jays infielder Maicer Izturis has undergone a surgical procedure on his right shoulder, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca reports on Twitter. That will likely bring an end to the year for Izturis, per the report.

Of course, an end to the year would also mean that the book is closed on a disappointing tenure in Toronto for Izturis. All said, he’s contributed just a .240/.291/.310 slash over 437 plate appearances since joining the Jays before the 2013 season.

The Blue Jays originally added Izturis by promising him $10MM over three years. While it wasn’t a major price to pay, Toronto has scuffled along with virtually no production from the second base position since making the move (at least until Devon Travis showed up).

That contract includes a $3MM club option for next year, but that seems a virtual lock to be bought out (for $1MM). Izturis, now 34 years of age, has suffered a variety of ailments in recent years and has not been a productive player since 2011.


East Notes: Izturis, Marlins, Valdespin, Pineda

Prior to the start of Sunday’s game against the Rays, Blue Jays manager John Gibbons told reporters, including MLBTR’s Zach Links, that second baseman Maicer Izturis is progressing slowly from his strained groin injury.  “He was told [not to take part in] any activity for ten days, I would definitely think he’ll be out [for Opening Day],” Gibbons said. Izturis was in competition for the starting second base job, which is likely now down to one or more of Devon Travis, Ryan Goins, and Steve Tolleson, as MLB.com’s Gregor Chisolm writes. This year is an important one for the veteran Izturis, who at age 34 is entering the final guaranteed season of his contract with plenty to prove. (Toronto holds a $3MM option over him for next year.)

Here’s more from the east:

  • “Numerous teams” have been inquiring about Marlins pitching, MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro tweets. We heard talk yesterday that lefties Brad Hand and Andrew McKirahan were drawing interest.
  • Infielder/outfielder Jordany Valdespin has come a long way since his oft-contentious stint with the Mets and has a legitimate chance to make the Marlins Opening Day roster, Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports. The 27-year-old, who says his attitude turned after being told by his mother it was time to “grow up,” split last year between the bigs and Triple-A with Miami.
  • Yankees starter Michael Pineda is drawing rave reviews this spring, as George A. King III of the New York Post writes. Of course, the big question with Pineda is shoulder health. He was effective last year despite working in the low 90s, but this spring is said to be pushing his fastball back toward the mid-90s level that he deployed as a breakout rookie.

East Notes: Izturis, Travis, Matusz, Brown, Matz

Here’s the latest from the league’s eastern divisions.



AL East Notes: Victorino, Pedroia, Pentecost, Blue Jays, ARod

Red Sox manager John Farrell says the club will start veteran Shane Victorino in right field if he’s healthy, tweets Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald. Farrell added that Victorino is “full go,” indicating that only a setback could change those plans. With Hanley Ramirez the obvious starter in left field, that could mean Mookie Betts and Rusney Castillo will compete for the center field job. Others like Allen Craig, Jackie Bradley, Brock Holt, and Daniel Nava appear thoroughly blocked in the outfield. Here’s more from the AL East.

  • Dustin Pedroia is healthy and ready to go, reports Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston. My take: a healthy Pedroia means that Betts and Holt are also blocked in the infield. Should everybody remain healthy, some kind of trade looks all but inevitable. Several players like Betts, Castillo, and Holt still have options, so the club can stow some major league quality talent at Triple-A if necessary.
  • The Rays lost great talent this offseason, writes Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Executive Andrew Friedman tops the list of 13 impactful losses. His departure is mitigated by the presence of Matt Silverman. Rounding out the top five poignant losses include Ben Zobrist, Joe Maddon, Joel Peralta, and bench coach Dave Martinez.
  • Blue Jays top draft pick Max Pentecost has undergone shoulder surgery, reports Ben Nicholson-Smith of SportsNet.ca. Dr. James Andrews performed the procedure. Pentecost, a catcher, is expected to resume throwing in about three months.
  • The Blue Jays continue to be faced with three big questions, writes Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com. They include the identity of their closer, second baseman, and fifth starter. Brett Cecil and Aaron Sanchez are expected to compete for ninth inning duties, although Sanchez could factor in the rotation battle too. Other candidates to start include Marco Estrada and prospect Daniel Norris. Second base will probably go to Maicer Izturis, Ryan Goins, or prospect Devon Travis.
  • The Yankees are right to allow beleaguered veteran Alex Rodriguez to attend camp, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. It’s surprising to see other writers suggest the club swallow the $61MM remaining on Rodriguez’s contract without at least giving him a chance to provide some value. If he fails to remain healthy, the club can also recoup part of the money via insurance.

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.