Kenny Ken Ken never sleeps, so why should we?

According to the most plugged-in reporter in the business, a rival executive thinks that… oh, I’ll just let him tell it (you know, assuming you haven’t read the title of this post, the Twitter or Facebook link that sent you here, or haven’t seen the picture above):

If Rosenthal’s source is right, the Jays will find themselves with a 32-year-old, switch-hitting, power-deficient (.381 career SLG) infielder, who hasn’t got on base the same way he used to in recent years (OBPs in the .349-.365 range for three of four years before dipping to .321, .334, and .320 his last three seasons), but nonetheless is positionally versatile, playing second, short, and third over the years in Anaheim, and most season in his career has been worth something in the neighbourhood of two wins, despite limited playing time.

The 2012 season was somewhat odd for Izturis, in that he was far stronger hitting right-handed pitching– posting a respectable-enough .340 OBP and wRC+ of 96– despite being ghastly against lefties. In the three seasons previous he’d posted wOBAs of .342, .320 and .435 hitting right-handed, though none of the sample sizes for those numbers are particularly large.

Still, he’s not nothing. And while in an ideal world he’d be a versatile guy to have on the bench, it’s not even such a horrible thought to consider a guy like that as a fall-back regular for second base– someone you could plant there to give Hechavarria more time in Buffalo, but who can still be pushed aside if Adeiny absolutely forces your hand, or if Izturis fails to maintain his average-ish bat against right-handers or doesn’t return to his career norms against lefties.

I’m not saying it’s a particularly good plan, but he’d be a nice option to hold at the position while hoping something better comes along– nicer, even, than Mike Aviles, or at least offering some kind of hope of success against right-handers.

Comments (119)

  1. Cool. I mean, I’m not exactly jumping for joy but it seems like a smart move.

    • I like the move, certainly an upgrade over Vizquel. Not entirely crazy about seeing him as an everyday stop-gap measure, as I would rather see him being the super-utility guy from the bench, but at least its a fucking start.

  2. i like this in the way i “liked” the idea of jamey carroll last year. i am always reminding myself that maicer =! cesar…who sucked HARD.

  3. also, i was just comparing MI to kelly johnson – izturis compares about as favourably as you could hope. i still favour the idea of bringing johnson back, but if izturis is making something like 7 million for 2 years…i can’t really hate that, but can’t really get fired up about it either.

    • also: i hope to hell, izturis doesn’t cost that much…i just mean, i think he’s probably in that 3WAR range for two years…so paying full price for that wouldn’t be terrible, i guess. if he comes cheap – all the better.

  4. I think the best thing for the Jays would be having one year placeholders at 2B and LF, and keeping JPA at C for another year.

    Then you let Gose, Hech and Darnaud simmer down in AAA, and hopefully force your hand during the year.

    Izturis would be a good option for that. He should be decent enough that he can play every day. But he also certainly won’t block Hech if he comes on strong.

  5. grady sizemore is a name that intrigues me for LF.

  6. Maicer Izturis would be a fine signing provided he was a utility IF or platoon bat at 2B. His stats show him to be a good fielder/baserunner and he takes enough walks at the plate to not be useless (8.2 BB% career, 94 wRC+). Starting full time, though? Not good enough if this team has the goal of making the postseason in 2013.

    • jays won the WS with manny lee as their everyday shortstop…having him there for a year isn’t the end of the world. also, i don’t think 2013 will be a postseaosn year for them, and even if it is – the 2012 orioles had robert fucking andino there…

      • That Jays team was also full of significant talent at other positions (which isn’t at all the case for this team obviously beyond Bautista, Lawrie, and maybe Encarnacion).

        Starting a guy like Izturis full-time (who, in the best case scenario, is going to only provide you with average production at 2B) won’t exactly get them over that massive hump. He could be a fine value signing, but to what end?

        • EE was a top 5 hitter in the american league last year. He was a more significant talent than Lawrie, and most likely will be again next year, at least with the bat.

        • When you talk talent you need to base it on performance rather than potential.

          • When Kyle Drabek manages a 3 WAR season (as Lawrie just did), you be sure to let me know.

          • Drabek has nothing to do with your claim that Lawrie is currently of equal value to JB and EE. When Brett Lawrie manages a 4-5 WAR season the Jays will be playing in a new stadium on the moon. The guy is just about the most over rated player in the league right now. Sell high while the gettin’s good.

          • What do you mean? One of AA’s favourite words is “upside”

        • Give me other options at 2nd base… That’s all I’m saying. It’s a thin fiele

        • If EE gets half way between the .787 OPS he had in both 2010 and 2011 and the 9.41 ops he got in 2012 then he is still a significant talent. EE has actually had a pretty decent career so far, he has put together several good seasons and was a lot better than Bautista before he turned it around.

          • Sure, if he does. He hasn’t done it yet, though.

            My point, anyway, regardless of this rather pointless nitpicking about Encarnacion and Lawrie talent levels, is that this team is pretty devoid of elite talent at the moment. It’s going to need a hell of a lot to be good enough to contend with the best in baseball next season (or even any time soon).

          • Amen

        • i think you’re being realistic, but maybe a tad pessimistic.

          especially when the rest of the al east is similarly thin after their top 3 hitters.

      • And Omar Quintanilla! And the ghost of Brian Roberts for like 17 games! And Ryan Flaherty!

        Maicer is a solid pickup, always liked him.

  7. Interesting comparison I just noted between two FA 2B, one of which will surely get much more than the other based on his most recent season. It’s striking how similar they’ve been offensively in their careers.

    Player A is Izturis. Any one want to make a guess as to who Player B is?

    Player A career: 8.2 BB%, 10.7 K%, .108 ISO, .297 BABIP, .273 AVG, .337 OBP, .381 SLG, .318 wOBA, 94 wRC+
    Player B career: 8.7 BB%, 10.8 K%, .116 ISO, .297 BABIP, .276 AVG, .340 OBP, .391 SLG, .324 wOBA, 95 wRC+

    • i’d guess it’s someone that has a connection to the jays – so probably o-dawg or scutaro. but i’ll be honest, that line could be from pretty much any of the fa 2b this year…other than maybe johnson, who has slugged a bit in his time.

    • Nope…don’t like guessing games

    • i’d guess it’s someone that has a connection to the jays – so probably o-dawg or scutaro. but i’ll be honest, that line could be from pretty much any of the fa 2b this year…other than maybe johnson, who has slugged a bit in his time.

    • we’re on the edge of our seats

    • Scutaro?

      • The #1 FA 2B himself, Marco Scutaro.

        • To be fair, Scutaro trended upwards after he went past his “traditional” peak years. The bulk of his career numbers are weighed down by atrocious numbers attained while he was being run out for 400+ PAs a year in Oakland despite being a replacement level player.

          Scutaro’s recent history is more encouraging than Izturis, although it is a lot closer than most would think.

          • To this end, in the past five years:

            Izturis: 7.7 BB%, 10.9 K%, .104 ISO, .298 BABIP, .274 AVG, .335 OBP, .378 SLG, .317 wOBA, 96 wRC+

            Scutaro: 9.0 BB%, 9.6 K%, .116 ISO, .304 BABIP, .286 AVG, .352 OBP, .395 SLG, .332 wOBA, 100 wRC+

            The offensive difference is a bit more pronounced in their 5 year splits, but granted, in terms of fWAR, Izturis makes up a lot of the ground on defense.

  8. If he comes cheap it is a good signing, although if they are going to spend on Izturis they might as well make it a few million more and go for Keppinger. Although Escobar along with a Hech and Izturis platoon at 2B is a pretty good middle infield., Hech could probably get enough playing time to make it worthwhile for him not to be in AAA. Also a switch hitter is a nice addition to the lineup

    But if AA trades Escobar then he better get a legit starting SS or 2B which would only further his off season shopping list.

    • the 2b/SS market is all guys that are basically interchangable. Kelly Johnson probably has the “highest upside” of any of them, and fans here seem to think either he isn’t resigning, or they have no interest in resigning him…

      trading escobar basically ensures that the middle infield is going to be manned by some glove-only journeymen for the foreseeable future, as there’s nothing in the system at any level to even project to be of any use.

      i’d say the jays best move, as shot-down as the idea has been for the last 14 months, is to take what you learned from 2012 (lawrie can field well, even in that rover position) and see what he can do at 2b…then maybe look at guys like youkilis, or thinking about bautista going back to 3b or at least giving the team some options that don’t rely on having Maicer Izturis be the everyday 2b.

  9. It’s not a terrible place-holder signing and he would be ok as a bench guy. Since I want to keep whatever $$$ are available for pitching and slugging I’d be ok with this guy until Hech is ready for prime time. He’s an upgrade on KJ.

    • Exactly getting starting pitching is way more important than a marginal 2nd base upgrade

    • johnson and izturis have produced the same value over the last two years…it’s hardly an upgrade. the year before johnson outproduced izturis by over 4 fWAR. That’s a considerable talent gap. in the same way jays fans wish aaron hill had returned to form on ol’ bremnar blvd…i think a year will give them time to think the same about johnson.

      • Who wants to bet that when Johnson goes ANYWHERE (other than Rogers Centre) this coming season he’ hit .300 with 25 HRs and fix his nasty strikeout rate?

    • Pitching

  10. I’ve liked Izturis for what he is and has been – solid if he is your 8th or 9th best position player (including DH)… I would be happy with the move, but if this is our big splash of the off-season., it will be a long 2013

  11. He fits right in with the injury plagued team.

  12. Would have made a great and cheap platoon with Aviles.

  13. I know the second base market is filled with more crap than what rosie o’donnell shits out everyday but man this guy’s career is trending the wrong way. I would rather go after jeff keppinger who a had good season last year and has a chance to get better

  14. Ok now go get Sanchez and one of Marcum or Baker prob over budget? And maybe trade for a cheap controllable LF

  15. Playoffs!!!!!!!!

  16. “someone you could plant there to give Hechavarria more time in Buffalo, but who can still be pushed aside if Adeiny absolutely forces your hand”

    This. This. This.

  17. If it’s a 1 year deal then they could look around for an upgrade there next year. A quick look at MLBTR shows a few interesting 2014 FAs:
    Robbie Cano, Ben Zobrist, Chase Uttley and, and , and………
    Aaron Hill!!!!!!!
    (who could sign for 3 years/27 mill… stink the joint out for 2.75 years, and resign after that for a raise!)

  18. I like this move if it is to replace Aviles as the potential utility guy. I suppose it would allow Hechavarria to go back to AAA or at least start at 2nd full time if they fail to get another player. It would probably remove Hechavarria from any middle ground as a utility player which is far more ideal. Hopefully the price is right.

  19. I like this for the Jays. Most of the 2Bs in the league suck, so get an average one at a cheap price and move on to other areas where you have better options. I hope they sign him to a two to three year deal worth 12 mil or less. Then they can revist 2B in the next few offseasons.

    We need to stop chasing the ghost of Aaron Hill. We’re not getting a 2B like that for a long time.

  20. Wilner thinks it’s Theriot, he just said on the Fan. Emphasis on thinks, though. He definitely emphasized the backup element, which others like Shi Davidi haven’t been so sure of.

    • Honestly, name one call that Wilner has made correctly in the past 2 or 3 years?

      • “Honestly, name one call that Wilner has made correctly in the past 2 or 3 years?”

        Well, he’s kind of right on player acquisition stuff all the time.

        “Hey Mike, I think the Jays should get Fielder” “Not going to happen”

        “Mike the Jays should trade for Mike Trout” “Not going to happen.”

        “Hey Mike, think the Jays could make Molitor the GM?” “Not going to happen”.

  21. Ummmm…. Anyone else notice Maicer Izturis’ name is spelled wrong in the title of this page?

    In any case, not a bad signing if true. The Jays don’t necessarily need an all-star mega-bat at 2B if they already have a pretty decent offense already. The Jays do not need to be the Yankees and have all-stars at every position just to make the offseason. The Cardinals have done well enough the last two years with whoever the hell is their 2B (Descalso and Schumaker), while the Giants won the World Series with Brandon Crawford as their starting SS. The Jays could do a lot worse than Maicer Izturis.

    • I had to laugh when you referred to the post-season as the off-season. It’s been a reality for too long in Toronto.

      I know they want to keep Hech in AAA until he’s “ready”, but I could live with his bat in the lineup if AA addresses the other areas of need.

      • That was unintentional, but it made me laugh when I read it over.

        Maybe Hech isn’t ready, but maybe something clicks for the guy and he surprises us all?

        In any case, it’s not like the offence was the major problem last year (maybe it was more or less their homer-or-nothing attitude?), it was pitching that really kept the Jays down. I can live with a few sub-standard bats in the lineup if the pitching gets better.

        • I’m hoping Mottola can work with the guys that don’t swing for the fences: Gose, Hech, Rasmus and Escobar to get their OBP up so that the big boys can bring them home.

          I could live with half the order using the whole field and hitting slap singles a la Ichiro.

  22. I was just looking at KR’s tweet about the manager search. Blue Jays want to hire someone with prior managerial experience and ‘now believe they’re closing in’ on finding someone. Wakamatsu has been under their noses for two years. I can’t believe that they would think they were ‘closing in’ on him. I can believe that they were making sure he was the right guy. (And making sure and making sure and making sure and making sure.) But I can’t believe they would say the search was closing in–or any version of those words–and then hire him. It doesn’t make sense.

    Grasping at straws? Yes. Why do you ask?

  23. Is there a sense at all for what KJ would go for? Did he fall off the cliff enough that a 1/5 would work?

  24. Last year, of Jays with at least 150 plate appearances, Izturis’s OBP would have been fourth. And it was .005 shy of third. I’ll take it.

    Also, not that I think it matters, but I can’t believe no one’s noted yet that he first appeared in the majors with the Expos. What may be more significant is that the Expos traded for him. If you want to get silly about the idea that AA will spend years going after players he likes (e.g., as was rumoured with Lawrie), then maybe there’s something to that, too.

    • Good point . He seems to be better than Aviles.

      Scutari is the top free agent. 2b after jays dumped him in 2009.

      Who was the draft pick we received for him?

  25. there is one word to describe everything i’ve read about this, and it’s “meh”

  26. He’ll be the last Expo in MLB. Guess it’s fitting that he’ll end up being the last to ever play for two Canadian teams in his career.

    If they sign him for a year, sure why not.

    • Rauch?

    • Maicer might be the last former Expo and is the youngest of the bunch, but there are a pile of other possibilities – Scott Downs, Jamey Carrol, Endy Chavez, Juan Rivera, Bruce Chen, Carl Pavano, Luis Ayala, maybe others. I could see one of the relievers pitching for years.

  27. “If you want to get silly about the idea that AA will spend years going after players he likes (e.g., as was rumoured with Lawrie), then maybe there’s something to that, too.”

    If I recall JPR had a habit of doing that as well. Which is why we gut stuck with Mencherson.

  28. Anyone want to bet on this being the “big acquisition” of the offseason?

  29. JB – EE – KJ – JPA – RR – Hech… these nicknames are beaming with originality!

  30. Blair on Jason Bay. Thinks the Mets were exactly the wrong club for him. Is in favour of bringing him to the Jays.

  31. Davidi thinks Bay will go to the West Coast which is where he lives anyway. Thinks the Giants might get him.

    I think I’d rather go for Melky Cabrera if we could get him.

    • I would love if they get Melky on a 2-3 year deal. short enough to establish his value for him but not too long for us that if he can’t get his shit together it is a burden.

  32. Um, don’t the “if we heard a rumour about it, it’s likely not going to happen” rules still apply with AA?

    The Farrell rumours was about a someone leaving, not becoming a Jay.

    If I remember correctly, outside of a reliever (Oliver?) last off season who was “unofficially” signed until a roster spot was secured, which is not technically a leak really, should we not continue to hold this philosophy?

    I do recall that Kenny Ken Ken was right on one move last year. Could someone please refresh my memory? Thanks

  33. Agree with those saying he’d be a fine pickup as the utility guy or a platoon player. In 8 years in the majors he has had over 400 AB’s only once, 2011. Last year he appeared in 29 games at 2B, 30 at 3B and 26 at SS. He had 289 AB’s, managed 17 steals, hit .256 with 25 walks and played to a 0.1 WAR. Having a veteran switch hitter capable of plying an extended run of games in an injury situation is a good thing. Having him as an every day second baseman, not so much.

    • That is about where I stand on this. Would have been a nice platoon with Aviles, as someone noted above.

      • Pointless. izturis doesn’t show significant enough platoon splits for it to matter enough to do that.

        • You’re right. “Platoon role” was a poor choice of words. “Part time role” would have been better.

      • Guys like Elliott Johnson (TB) or Robert Andino (Bal) or the Santiago kid in Detroit are more than guys who can give a starter a day off. They can play a run of games and they have a useful skill set. But if asked to be every day players, they lose their effectiveness: just don’t seem to have the stamina for that. Thinking Izturis is similar though maybe a bit of an upgrade on any of those.

  34. Heyman confirms that the Jays are close to a deal with Maicer Izturis (after hilariously reporting that “Maicer Izturis is close to a deal with Maicer Izturis. Great fit there.”)

  35. Honestly, whatever. I can deal with no big splashes for position players, and this isn’t the worst thing that could have happened.

    I’d rather all resources went in to the rotation

    • +1
      Melky would be a good LF next year. Pitching should be priority number one.

      • Melky would be great, he will be looking for a 1 year deal. to prove PED season was not the cause of his season, so that he can sign a longer contract next term, anyone signing him 3 years would sign him for less dollars then he could get on 1 year and then a 2 year deal. signing him to a 1 year deal takes a big chunk of cash, but will not hurt the jays long term with guys like Gose along the way.

  36. Interesting fringe benefit of signing Izturis: more confidence in ability to flip Escobar if you don’t truly believe Hech is ready.

    • I know there has been a lot of talk about Escobar on the way out, but I can’t see them trading him now. With all the controvery this past year and a down performance, wouldnt it make sense to give him a year to regain that value, leave the attitude problems behind and give Hech one more year of development. This just makes so much more sense to me.
      Escobar hitting .280/.360/.400 would be a really nice piece to this offence! He has the ability to be that guy next year.

  37. Jays could do a lot worse for a utility guy than izturis. Hes an upgrade on mccoy/vizquel. I just hope he is not starting. 3 yrs/ 10 M is a bit steep but not terrible. His obp of .320 immediately becomes one of the best on the team, which is quite sad. Shows how much work still needs to be done on offense, let alone the rotation.

  38. and he’s signed. 3 years 10m plus club option
    Would seem to me that AA is not seeing Hech at 2B which means Yescobar will probabky be gone in 2013.

  39. Is this now the biggest free agent in terms of dollars that AA has picked up?

  40. 3 years? Seems a little hefty, but I’m all for it. The Jays haven’t had a switch-hitting player since probably Gregg Zaun lol.

  41. I really like the cost control-able guys they are building especially when you look at RP they jays are not trying to be cheap now per-say, but trying to get guys that will be cheap when they begin to click. SIgning Macier gives you a nice utility option after this year. I see him starting this year and will give the jays a chance to either transition Hech to 2nd perm or to find someone younger. Win Win. Anyone who says why not keep Aviles for that role, it was reported he was not happy with the loss of starting, tally that in with the fact he was on a 1 year deal.

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