The General Manager meetings are in full swing as Alex Anthopoulos lays the groundwork for future off season trades and signings for the Toronto Blue Jays. On Wednesday, Sportsnet columnist Shi Davidi broke news that the Blue Jays are close to signing a free agent second baseman. When you peruse the list of available free agents at second base it definitely will not be a blockbuster signing.
Davidi tweeted “One interesting thing I’ve heard. Sounds like Jays may soon sign a 2B (don’t know who yet). Probably in next few days if it goes down.
It would appear the Jays are comfortable with the tandem of Yunel Escobar and Adeiny Hechavarria with a veteran on the bench who can play both shortstop and second base. Ken Rosenthal reported late last night that he was hearing the Jays were close to signing former Angel’s infielder Maicer Izturis.
Rosenthal tweeted “One rival exec expects free agent Maicer Izturis to be Toronto’s choice.”
Izturis would be a nice depth signing bringing 9 years of major league experience with him. Last season Izturis played 100 games for the Angels batting .256 with two home runs, 20 runs batted in and.634 OPS. Izturis set a career high with 17 stolen bases on the base paths in 2012 and owns a tidy .973 career fielding percentage.
Izturis split time last season at three positions playing 30 games at 3B, 29 games at 2B and 26 games at SS.
Izturis broke into the league in 2004 with the Montreal Expos playing one season for Montreal before being traded to the Angels where he has remained ever since.
On an interesting side note, I viewed the 2004 roster for the Expos where Izturis played 32 games as a 22-year-old rookie. The team is chalked full of players who went on to play for the Blue Jays or had previously. The likes of Alex Gonzalez, Jon Rauch, Scott Downs, Juan Rivera, Tomo Ohka, Tony Batista, Shawn Hill, Brad Wilkerson and Luis Lopez all donned Blue Jays colours at some point in their major league career.
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The Blue Jays appear in no urgency to fill their vacant manager void and are leaning toward a manager with major league experience.
MLB analyst Ken Rosenthal tweeted yesterday “Blue Jays remain focused on hiring a manager with prior major-league experience – and now believe they will succeed in that quest. In other words, barring a reversal, a first timer such as Sandy Alomar Jr. or Tim Wallach will NOT be the Blue Jays choice.”
Second time managers Art Howe, Jim Riggleman, Jim Tracy and Manny Acta have all had their name thrown into the fray at one point or another but I have a sneaky suspicion that AA is going to pull a name of his hat that nobody saw on the radar.
The Blue Jays are the only major league team looking for the services of a new manager now that Colorado Rockies have secured Walt Weiss.
On other news it appears the Arizona Diamondbacks are once again shopping Justin Upton and also blue chip pitching prospect Trevor Bauer. Arizona is rumoured to be in active trade discussions for Upton and one can only hope the Blue Jays could find a way to bring the young superstar north of the border. An outfield of Upton, Rasmus and Jose Bautista would arguably be the best offensive outfield in all of baseball.
The baseball off-season has just started and I am already looking forward to spring training. It is going to be a long winter. In closing I thought this quote summed up my feelings.
“People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.”- Rogers Hornsby
Clayton Richer is a baseball writer for Baseball Hot Corner, his interviews and blogs can be found daily at www.baseballhotcorner.com as well you can also follow him on twitter MLBHotCorner