Baltimore Orioles Close To Signing Free Agent Shortstop Cesar Izturis

Phil SpainContributor IDecember 9, 2008

According to Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun, Cesar Izturis is just a physical away from being the Orioles' new Shortstop. Izturis is a slick fielding shortstop, who won a Gold Glove in 2004.

Originally drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays, Izturis was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers where he played from 2002-'06. In 2006, Izturis had Tommy John Surgery on his right elbow.

Last season for the Cards, Izturis batted .263 with one home run and 24 RBI. My take on this: Izturis is a good fit for the Orioles, not because of his bat, but because of his fielding ability.

Izturis is no Miguel Tejada when it comes to batting, but he has a very good glove when it comes to defense. In the past three seasons, Izturis has only committed 19 errors, which is a small amount when you compare it to the revolving circle of Juan Castro, Luis Hernandez, Alex Cintron, and occasionally Brandon Fahey.

The Orioles have been looking for a shortstop since about June, when they were in discussion with the Blue Jays about David Eckstein, but those talks faltered.

Izturis should be the Opening Day starter, even though the club signed Former Athletics shortstop Donnie Murphy to a Minor League contract, with an invite to Spring Training. If these first two days are any indication, the Orioles are showing that they want to compete this year, even though they probably won't play a hand into the big free agent market.

It was released yesterday that GM Andy McPhail talked to free agent first baseman and Severna Park resident Mark Teixeira, but did not put an offer on the table, and according to  Peter Schmuck, he didn't have to sell "Baltimore."

"I think what he had a right to understand and I think what we have an obligation to tell him is where we are as an organization, what we're trying to do, how we're going to do it, how much progress we have made in the last year and a half," MacPhail said yesterday at baseball's winter meetings.

"I'm sure he asked the same questions of all the teams he went to."

Sounds to me that the Orioles are going to get involved. The only question now is if Owner Peter Angelos is ready to commit more than likely eight years and $150-60 Million on a hometown product.

The Winter Meetings end Friday, and it's going to be an interesting few days.