Maicer Izturis Rumors
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.
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 Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Emilio 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.
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.
As 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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
- There are indications that the Angels will either trade or non-tender Jeff Mathis by the December 12th deadline for teams to offer contracts to arbitration eligible players, according to Mike DiGiovanna of the LA Times. MLBTR projects a $1.8MM salary for Mathis if the Angels tender him a contract. However, the Angels may be able to trade him.
- The Rockies are expected to pursue Mathis if the Angels non-tender him, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post. The Mets are looking for a relatively young catch and throw guy, so Mathis could be an option for them, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (Twitter link).
- The Rockies and Angels discussed Maicer Izturis before completing last night’s trade, according to Scott Miller of CBSSports.com (Twitter link). The Tigers are another club with interest in Izturis.
The Tigers have interest in trading for Maicer Izturis of the Angels, reports Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Izturis is believed to be next on their wishlist after Martin Prado of the Braves.
The Tigers are looking for upgrades at second base, third base, and in the leadoff spot, three roles Izturis has filled at different times in his career. The 31-year-old hit .276/.334/.388 with five homers and nine steals in 494 plate appearances this past season, playing second, third, and shortstop. He is owed $3.8MM in 2012 and can become a free agent after the season.
Though they've acquired Dan Haren and Alberto Callaspo this month and reached an agreement for Derrek Lee eight days ago, the Angels may become sellers in the wake of Joel Pineiro's rib-cage strain yesterday. The injury will knock the righty out for six to eight weeks, writes Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times, and GM Tony Reagins is now open to trading veterans for prospects.
DiGiovanna speculates that Bobby Abreu, Brian Fuentes, Hideki Matsui, and Maicer Izturis might interest contenders. Abreu, Fuentes, and Matsui would be tough to move, and could be August trade candidates. Abreu is signed at $9MM for next year and may have another $9MM salary vest for 2012. The 36-year-old is hitting just .253/.347/.416. Fuentes' strikeout rate is back up, but he's been homer-prone and has over $3MM left on his contract. Matsui's market is limited by his DH profile, though he has tallied 122 innings in left field this year. He's been streaky this year, with his best work coming in April and June.
Despite an offensive downturn this year, Izturis should generate interest given his ability to play all around the infield. He's signed through 2012.