Extra! Extra! Read all about it! We have a free agent signing! Okay, so we’re not talking about Josh Hamilton becoming an Oriole or anything, but the Toronto Blue Jays have agreed to a three-year deal with infielder Maicer Izturis in what we’re told does constitute actual news. Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos will sign the checks to give Izturis $9 million over three seasons, and and additional $3 million club option exists for a fourth year. We know the Blue Jays need to shake things up a bit to work their way back into at least pre-contention, but it’s doubtful Izturis plays a big role in that movement.
Now 32, Izturis certainly won’t be clubbing any home runs any time soon. The Maicer has managed just a .381 career slugging percentage and .108 career ISO mark, and those figures have been getting worse as he gets older. That said, no one signs Maicer Izturis and expects a home run derby participant. Historically, there are a few things Izturis has done perfectly well. Aside from a mild docking last season, Izturis has long been considered a plus defender by UZR. That’s especially valuable since he is able to play any infield position that doesn’t involved him coming in for middle relief or donning a mask. Izturis has also always been though of as a good baserunner, and his career walk rate is slightly above average. An added plus is that he also isn’t particularly likely to strike out (career 10.7% K-rate), so he can get the job done if you need the ball in play.
This deal works just fine for both sides, as we’re assuming 2012′s yawn-fest is about as bad a season as Izturis can manage. He’s likely to exceed the value of his contract in terms of overall value, but the deal is plenty cheap because the infielder is coming off a down year and isn’t getting any younger. Izturis gives the Jays a nice, versatile infield option, and I’m sure there are plenty of teams that would be perfectly happy trotting him out there all over the place whenever necessity called.