Alex Anthopoulos: Second Base Moves Continue to Baffle with Izturis Signing

Pete McCarthyContributor IIINovember 8, 2012

ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 1:  Maicer Izturis #6 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim tries for a bunt during their MLB game against the Oakland Athletics at Angels Stadium on July 1, 2008 in Anaheim, California.  The Angels defeated the Athletics 5-3.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Last season, Kelly Johnson manned 2B and was allowed to go after quite a dismal season.

In compensation for John Farrell, the Blue Jays received Mike Aviles—not exactly an inspiring acquisition but one that made sense from the take-what-you-can-get and fill-a-need perspective.

Aviles along with Yan Gomes was traded for the Indians' relief pitcher Esmil Rogers.

Today, the Toronto Blue Jays signed Maicer Izturis—former Anaheim Angel—for three years and $10 million (h/t USA Today).

What the Jays relinquished: one manager (Farrell), one mediocre second baseman (Johnson), one utility infielder (Aviles), one reserve infielder (Gomes)

What the Jays acquired: one relief pitcher with half a good season to his name (Rogers), one utility infielder (Izturis)

Is it just me or has this been a rather bizarre series of transactions?

It's not that I don't think Maicer Izturis is a good player—I know he isn't because he has been proving it for the last nine years. Since his rookie season in 2004 he has been more valuable than a replacement-level player exactly once (2009).

That's not to suggest the other two second baggers who have recently been Blue Jays (in name at least) have been much better; Aviles and Johnson have each accomplished a WAR of 2 or greater only twice in their careers.

In 2012, the WARs of Johnson, Aviles, and Izturis have been 1.4, 2.0 and 0.1 respectively.

I suppose the natural reaction is "well, it wasn't going to be a position of strength anyway so what does it matter?"

Certainly I can see the logic in that. I cannot see the logic in paying the player who is statistically the worst of the three $9 million, when Aviles was under arbitration control and coming off the best season of the trio plus was the least expensive ($1.2 million).

Izturis has no discernible advantage over the other two players. He is slightly faster, but still typically manages a SB success rate lower than the 75-percent rate that determines whether stealing is ultimately productive.

He is a comparable fielder to Johnson—both are superior to Aviles.

He has no power to speak of. He doesn't hit for a high average, though his on-base percentage is typically good. He is the oldest of the three and his 2012 season was statistically the poorest of the three.

So what exactly was the point of this extended rigmarole?

To get Esmil Rogers? Really?

I understand that this is a particularly weak FA market for the keystone sack, that retaining Johnson would have been unwise and that the top two players, Scutaro and Keppinger, are likely to get more than they deserve, but I still don't get AA's reasoning here. 

Why not let Aviles play out the year and upgrade next offseason or through trade? From the compensation for Farrell to the signing of Izturis, AA has put together some very underwhelming transactions over the last few weeks.