Maicer Izturis Rumors
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.
A look at the latest from Ed Price of AOL FanHouse...
- Price tweets that some new teams asked about Adam Dunn within the past day. He wonders if those clubs might include the Padres and Giants. Dunn is a nice fit for both teams, though they've been said to prefer avoiding rentals. Meanwhile Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets that the White Sox "remain focused on Dunn, but are laying the groundwork for a starting pitcher." If Dan Hudson pitches poorly Friday against the Athletics, the Sox could change gears.
- In his latest column, Price says the Angels checked in on Garrett Jones before acquiring Alberto Callaspo, but balked at the Pirates' asking price of Maicer Izturis. However, it's worth noting that Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette tweeted that the Pirates say the Angels never contacted them about Jones.
- The Royals were eyeing Rays minor leaguer Jake McGee in a potential David DeJesus deal before the outfielder's injury. The southpaw McGee returned from Tommy John surgery last year and has 91 strikeouts in 76.6 Double A innings in 2010. Baseball America ranked McGee eighth among Rays prospects heading into the season, but he might be first or second on another team.
- Another trade that wasn't: SI's Tom Verducci says the Phillies discussed sending Jayson Werth to the Yankees as part of a deal for Dan Haren before the righty went to the Angels.
- Also of note in Price's column: a look at how the trade deadline has changed over the decades, including varying dates and rules for interleague deals.
Injuries to Maicer Izturis and Erick Aybar could force the Angels to trade for or sign a shortstop. For now, GM Tony Reagins tells Bill Shaikin of the LA Times that he’s hoping Aybar’s left knee and Izturis’ left forearm heal on schedule.
"Hopefully, our injury situation isn't long-term," Reagins said. "If it is, you'd probably have to look outside the organization."
The Angels are aware of available shortstops. Adam Everett is a free agent; Maicer’s half-brother Cesar Izturis could become a trade target; the Rays have shortstop depth; Stephen Drew, Ryan Theriot, Omar Vizquel and others could also be available. But the Angels aren’t pursuing any of them.
"We're not at that point," Reagins said.
It’s not a good year to be an Angels infielder. Kendry Morales is out for the season after breaking his leg, so the Angels have been linked to available first basemen for weeks. Despite these injuries, the Angels are just 2.0 games out of first place in the AL West.
With Spring Training wrapping up around the country, teams are finalizing their rosters and picking the 25 players they'll start the season with. There's always room for improvement, but some contenders have some very obvious weak spots on their rosters. Here's a look at some of them, which may need to be addressed during the season...
- Angels, third base: Brandon Wood and Maicer Izturis will get the first cracks at replacing Chone Figgins, but if neither is up to par, the Halos might be looking for a fill-in at the hot corner.
- Braves, outfielder: Superstar in training Jason Heyward will start the year in right, but incumbent centerfielder Nate McLouth had a brutal spring (6-for-51), which may push Melky Cabrera into full-time duty.
- Rays, setup man: With J.P. Howell on the shelf due to a bum shoulder, the team has no obvious candidate to hand the ball off to new closer Rafael Soriano. Dan Wheeler and Grant Balfour represent solid options, but if Howell misses more time than expected, the Rays might be looking to add a reliever.
- Twins, closer: This is the most obvious hole of them all. Joe Nathan is out for the season after having elbow surgery, and Jon Rauch will get the first chance to replace him.
- Yankees, left field: The team is breaking camp with Brett Gardner, Randy Winn, and Marcus Thames set to share time in left, but we've already seen a scenario laid out in which they might need help sooner rather than later.
That doesn't include all of the clubs that could very well be looking to add a starting pitcher at some point, like the Mariners, Mets, Phillies, Cubs, and Dodgers. Some other holes aren't so obvious though. Maybe the Red Sox could use another reliever (who couldn't?), or perhaps Seattle will go looking for a big bat that fits into their extreme run prevention plan.
What other areas of need to do you see out there for contenders?
Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have extended Maicer Izturis' contract for three years, $10MM, avoiding arbitration in the process and buying out two years of free agency as well.
Izturis had submitted an arbitration salary of $3MM, while the Angels had countered with $2.3MM.
Izturis, 29, had a terrific 2009 season, posting a .300/.359/.434 batting line while playing mainly second base for the Angels. His UZR/150 at the position was a sparkling 14.7.
Though the 2010 projection systems see some regression from his near-.800 OPS, he still profiles as a strong choice at second base. A good signing at reasonable money for the Angels here.
11:45pm: Price reports that the Angels are telling people there's a significant chance they deal an infielder, likely Izturis. The 29-year-old made just $1.6MM this season, so he won't be in line for a big contract next year, even though it's his last season before hitting free agency.
11:29pm: Ed Price of AOL FanHouse hears that the Angels are exploring a trade for an infielder. Price's source says the infielder is likely Maicer Izturis, but could also be Howie Kendrick.
Price says Erick Aybar and Brandon Wood sound "untouchable." However, we know the Angels would consider dealing Aybar. GM Tony Reagins told Mike DiGiovanna of the LA Times that he's "open minded" to the possibility, though it doesn't appear likely. It's hard to imagine that Wood is untouchable, either. He's valuable, but other than Derek Jeter and Evan Longoria, how many untouchable players are really out there?
In his latest blog post at ESPN.com, Peter Gammons writes that "unless someone comes up with a Justin Smoak, Matt LaPorta or Brett Wallace," the Red Sox will hold on to Brad Penny and enjoy the depth. He says no one will offer up a prospect like that for a few months of Penny.
Here's the rest of Gammons' rumors:
- Takashi Saito is the pitcher on Boston's staff most likely to be traded.
- Jake Peavy and Erik Bedard "probably won't be tradeable before Aug. 1" because of their injuries.
- Jarrod Washburn could be had.
- The Red Sox have talked to the Angels about infielder Maicer Izturis, but the talks haven't gone anywhere
- Mark Mulder "made considerable progress refinding his delivery after one session with pitching coach Rick Peterson."
- The Mets are looking for an outfield bat. They made a run at Mark DeRosa, but wouldn't discuss Bobby Parnell.
- The Cardinals wouldn't discuss Jason Motte or Chris Perez in exchange for DeRosa.
- The uncertain situation surrounding the Cubs' ownership will likely prohibit any major additions.