On Thursday, Alex Anthopoulos signed his biggest Free Agent acquisition since taking over as the Blue Jays General Manager 3 years ago in Macier Izturus.
Izturus, a 32 year old switch hitting infielder, signed a deal that guarantees him 3 million a year for the next 3 seasons with a club option for a 4th year at another 3 million.
In Izturus, the Blue Jays receive a 9 year vet who can play Shortstop, 2nd Base and 3rd Base when called upon. A career .273 hitter, Izturis is known for being a quality glove man up the middle who has shown a knack for getting on base in years past.
With the good comes the bad and his downfall has been his inability to hit for power as well as a history of injuries during his career in the Majors.
The former Expo and half bother of one time Blue Jay Cesar Izturus had arguably his best season in the Bigs back in 2009 while with the Angels. That season saw the Venezuela native set career highs in BA (.300), RBI (65), Home Runs (8) and games played with 114.
With Adieny Hechavarria likely needing more seasoning in the minors, there is a spot open at 2nd Base and Izturis will likely fill the void left behind by Free Agent, Kelly Johnson. The fact that Izturis can also play Shortstop gives the Blue Jays some flexibility in regards to potentially moving Yunel Escobar this winter if a deal arises.
Following the deal that sent both utility ace Yan Gomes and the freshly acquired Mike Aviles to Cleveland for the hard throwing RHP Esmil Rogers, the Blue Jays added even more depth to their already stacked Bullpen on Thursday by claiming Jeremy Jeffress after the 25 year old was Designated for Assignment.
Jeffress, a former 1st round draft pick (2006), averaged both a Walk and Strikeout per inning during his appearances with the Royals in 2012 however fell victim to being DFA’d after making only 13 appearances with the club this season.
Jeffress, another hard throwing bullpen arm, hasn’t shown his full potential in the majors since making his debut 3 seasons ago however does posses a plus fastball which was enough to draw Anthopoulos’ attention this off-season.
For now, we can view the Right Hander as a depth move who, if remains with the Blue Jays this winter, will likely start the season in AAA Buffalo while attempting to work on his control.