Friday, November 16, 2007

Will Rays Pursue Izturis?

Rotoworld is reporting that the Pirates have declined their 5.45 million option on Cesar Izturis today. With have Jack Wilson and his big salary on the team, plus Freddy Sanchez in the mix there was no need to spend that much money on a utility infielder. With the Rays need for a defensive shortstop will they pursue Izturis?

The members over at DRaysBay came up with a wish list of players they wanted to see on the Rays and Izturis was a name that popped up. Izturis was a gold glove shortstop in 2004 for the Dodgers, which was the last time he played a full season, and made the all-star team the next season. He was traded to the Cubs in 2006 for Greg Maddux and recently traded to the Pirates. Since he left the Dodgers he has not really been a full-time shortstop, but he is still young and has the potential to be a gold glove shortstop again.

Izturis is not much of a threat with the bat. He has a lifetime average of .259 and an on base percentage of .295, but the Rays do not need him for his bat. Izturis is very good defensively and has a lifetime fielding percentage of .979. Izturis has great range and does not make very many errors. The Rays need a veteran defensive shortstop to come in and be the stop gap at the position until Reid Brignac is ready to take over. The Rays defense was horrible last season and adding Izturis would help that immensely. Izturis is not worth what he was getting paid and many teams will want him to be a utility player for them and not the full time shortstop. The Rays may be the only team that can offer him a starting and full time spot, which may allow them to sign him for a lesser price.

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