The Hot Stove season is still in its infancy, but the Toronto Blue Jays are wasting no time at all.
A week after trading infielder Mike Aviles for relief pitcher Esmil Rogers, Alex Anthopoulos is making the first “significant” signing of the young offseason. On Thursday, the Toronto general manager signed former Los Angeles Angel Maicer Izturis to a 3-year, $10 million deal, with a club option for 2017.
A nine-year veteran, Izturis has held the role of super-utlity infielder for the Angels over the course of his career. He is a .273 career hitter with a career OPS of .718 and solid speed out of the bottom of the line-up. His career .337 on-base percentage would be a tremendous upgrade for a Blue Jays line-up that had just three players with on-base percentages over .320 in 2012.
In 319 plate appearances in 2012, Izturis hit .256 with 2 home runs, 20 RBI, 17 stolen bases, and 35 runs scored at the bottom of the Angels line-up. He struck out just 35 times, compared to Toronto’s 2012 second baseman Kelly Johnson, who himself tied the club’s single-season record of 159.
Izturis will also represent a significant upgrade in the field, holding a .990 career fielding percentage at second base, compared to Johnson’s .982 mark.
While the Izturis signing puts an end to the thoughts of having Marco Scutaro return to Toronto, it also gives the Blue Jays the flexibility to address their bigger needs, specifically the starting pitching.