New Shortstop

Cesar Izturis signs for one year.

It probably won’t be popular, but my gut say this isn’t a terrible move. Izturis has been a truly elite defender at shortstop, though I’m not sure what the advanced metrics say for this past year.

He’s also, of course, been a below-replacement-level hitter, which is obviously an issue.

But the way I look at it is this: one way to improve the run prevention is to improve the defense, and Izturis definitely improves the defense. Better to get him for only dollars than to give up talent to get Jack Wilson, who doesn’t provide you with much that Izturis can’t do. They still need to upgrade the offense, but improving the defense was a legitimate goal and it’s one they’ve achieved at apparently little cost — though I don’t know the actual dollars yet.

-M.

31 Comments

Uh…I definitely don’t like the sound of this deal if he is going to be the starting SS. If he is the backup, then fine, but he definitely doesn’t help out with the leadoff spot in question should we not resign Eck.

Can someone please tell me…Matt…Mrs. Dude…anybody. What’s wrong with just Brendan Ryan? haha I think he pleasantly suprised us all last year with glove and bat. We’ve got plenty of backup in the infield. Why aren’t we just letting him go get it?

Matthew, does this mean we’re not going to try too hard to keep Eck?

Is it really so clear that Izturis is as much of a defensive asset as his reputation suggests? I haven’t seen him play, but fielding percentage isn’t a great way to evaluate a shortstop’s defense. I’d rather know what his range is like. It certainly *used* to be good…

Any idea how much he’s getting paid? Last I saw, terms had not been announced. If he gets more than about $3M, they’re overpaying — but if they brought him in for less than that, he might be OK, at least if they can spend big bucks (well) on some of their other needs as a result.

Well, I think TLR has some hesitation to go with him, that’s part of it.

But Ryan is still erratic defensively, even though he is obviously gifted. I do think he’ll play some, esp. against LHP, since Izturis is better from the left side than the right.

Some of the comments over on VEB were that this is typically unimaginative, and that’s a fair comment. But the defense really needed to be upgraded. If they can ALSO add a bat somewhere, I don’t mind this move at all. If they stand still with the offense, that’s another matter.

-M.

Also, yes, Eckstein is pretty much gone. They may offer him arbitration, but probably they will not — and even if so, I can’t imagine he’d accept.

-M.

Matt, I’m with you (I think). It was obvious we needed to upgrade our defense. Izturis certainly does that. I do, however, wonder what this means for the offense. Rolen and Jimmy are, of course, my two favorite players (especially with Jim a year away from what could be retirement as a Cardinal), but with the Izturis signing, it does appear the writing is on the wall for one of them (if, that is, the Cards seriously expect to contend in 2008 and not just rebuild for the young guys in 09). Center and third now seem to be the most obvious opportunities to improve our offense from last year.

Molina and Pujols aren’t going anywhere…Kennedy has no trade value…We could possibly trade Ankiel or Duncan, but La Russa’s endorsement and relationship with Dunc makes him difficult to trade, and Ankiel’s relationship with the fans makes him difficult as well (plus, a well-developed outfield of Duncan, Ankiel, and Rasmus in the future is just offensively scary).

So…the signing of Izturis makes sense from a defensive standpoint, but it sure seems to put Mo’ in a pickle when it comes to improving the offense at a different position.

Is it possible for the Cardinals to attempt to sign Eck for second base and just outright release Kennedy (without financially crippling us)?

omg…does this mean we’re going to try to trade Rolen and others for Cabrera?????? (Increase defense at short, decrease offense at short MAY equal increase offense at Third but decrease defense at third…)…

I know, I know…I’m smokin’ somethin’…but this Izturis deal HAS to make sense somewhere…

Rolen will not get them any of the big prizes out there. For the teams looking to unload guys like Cabrera, Santana, etc., the last thing they want is to take on 3 years and 36MM.

-M.

Hey Matthew, what does this do for the lead off spot? I do like the signing based on Izturis’ defensive reputation, but he can’t hit first. I can maybe see Adam Kennedy hitting lead off, but thats it for the everyday players. Is there maybe another trade on the horizon for a lead off outfielder, or what?

It hurts in a way losing Eckstein, because like a lot of fans I liked him. Izturis might be OK, but what’s wrong with starting Ryan? I was hoping that Ryan would be able to start somewhere!

After long hard thoughts about the SS players available this move makes sense in a weird sort of way. Cheap SS is brought in to compete with Ryan who I think will be called up midseason as a replacement. Giving Ryan a little more time to mature and increase his obp. Defense for ground ball pitchers is a must, and Dunc likes to have the pitchers throw ground balls. Food for thought.

Ugh. This seems like about the worst idea possible. First off, offering Eckstein arbitration would have been a good idea, because either he accepts, and we have our SS spot settled between Ryan and Eck for a year and we can play the SS market next year when there’s a much better FA market, or if he doesn’t accept, we get a sandwich draft pick for him.

Secondly, Izturis is NOT a good baseball player. Offensively, he’s average at best, and defensively, despite Matthew’s endorsement, Baseball Prospectus has him as a below-average fielder for 2 of the last 3 years (2005 he was very good).

I haven’t looked up his UZR or any other of the advanced metrics, but I don’t like this signing. At the very minimum, he should have offered arbitration to Eckstein and if he declined it, then walked away with the pick and sign Izturis then.

you know one of the problems last year was all the money that we spent on these type players. added up it amounts to the payroll of one or two actually good baseball players. it just seems like they make a move just to be doing something. this one has the same feel as the kenedy or the SPIVEY move, and those worked wonderfully. cards need to stop collecting garbage. maybe the teem should hold open tryouts like that football movie i never saw. what can it hurt. what made me so angry every time wells took the field is that i could do just as good a job as him for a 1/4 the cost.

I want to reserve judgment, but…

Signing a shortstop who has hit around .250 for the last three seasons, and who has almost no power. Hmm…

It doesn’t sound good. Izturis has to hit low in the lineup. We will have to have someone else in the one or two slot. What do you all think?

So this move must be so Larussa can keep pitcher batting in the #8 hole right? When I first thought about that, it seemed funny. But seriously, we might as well bat Izturis 9th. He doesn’t have the obp for a leadoff guy, but wouldn’t be bad as that second leadoff type hitter because of his speed. I agree that we needed a defensive upgrade at short. I like that the deal is only for a year, so if Ryan can continue to impress, then you don’t feel bad about moving Izturis to a bench role later in the season.

On a side note, this means we now have two “Izzys.” Or would that be “Izzies”?

I’ve seen he was signed for $2.85 million. For just one year, I guess it’s not an awful deal, but his offense has been very poor, far worse than Eck’s was. But there is no one out there I am impressed by for SS.

One thought — I might argue that this puts them in BETTER position to offer arbitration to Eckstein, because it decreases the chances he’d accept.

I’d offer, no doubt about it. Not saying they will, but I think it’s absolutely the right thing to do.

-M.

And, yes, leadoff is definitely an issue. No idea what they do there. There’s not a leadoff man on the roster right now, with the possible exceptions of Ryan and Schumaker.

-M.

On second thought, sometimes my optimism clouds how my judgement. The lineup so far looks pretty bad. Sure it could start out pretty good with;
1. Ankiel

2. Duncan

3. Pujols

But then there’s the question marks;

4. Edmonds/Rolen

5. Rolen/Edmonds

And fill out the rest something like this;

6. Molina

7. Kennedy

8. Pitcher/Izturis

9. Pitcher/Izturis

Even if Edmonds/Rolen look closer to their 04 numbers than 07 numbers(not very likely), spots 6, 7, 8, and 9 are pretty much easy outs. If they look closer to last years numbers, look for Pujols to get walked pretty much all the time.

I’m hoping Mo can pull off some great moves to change this, but it doesn’t seem that likely.

Izturis as an everyday replacement for Eckstein is absurd. Not a good beginning for our new GM.

As I think about it, one interesting thing that this does is to free up Ryan and/or Hoffpauir as trade bait. (Miles or Kennedy too, although it’s less likely that anyone would want them.) This may be useful.

There is a certain element of “fashion,” or at least trendiness, to the way teams behave during trading season, and this year’s fashion trend is a preference — reversing the pattern of recent years — for trading to obtain young talent. The Cards suddenly have some young talent in the middle infield available, positioning them to be “sellers” of young talent in a market that may be good for sellers. Furthermore, the liability isn’t great, as better choices at middle infield (Cruz, Kozma) are in the low minors on the way up.

So maybe now Ryan and Hoffpauir might be moved. Granted, A-Rod they ain’t, but I still wonder: who might bite on a deal involving one of those guys, and what might they offer that we actually need?

I think maybe the thought process, rather than dealing Ryan, might be this:

You platoon the two SS’s early. Ryan vs LHP, Izturis vs RHP. Izturis is also your late-inning defender. And hopefully they develop enough faith in Ryan that by the end of the year, he’s emerged, and he’s the guy next year.

I think it’s important to remember that, as good as Ryan looked at times, his Minor League profile doesn’t really suggest stardom. Maybe he really is the guy who hit 290/350/410 last year, but it would be unwise to bank on that.

The one concern for me is, as one poster pointed out, if Izturis really isn’t a legitimate plus defender anymore. If that’s the case, then undeniably this was a poor move.

But I guess in the end I like two of the underlying concepts. 1, get a guy for a year, don’t give up any talent to get him, let him keep the seat warm for the younger guy. 2, upgrade the defense behind a pitching staff that has a LOT of balls in play and is extremely dependent upon its defense.

-M.

I agree, the platoon-and-wait approach seems to work if they keep Ryan. And you’re right that it’s forward-looking; by the end of 2008 they should know whether Ryan is really a major leaguer or not. My point is that with this signing, they don’t *have* to keep Ryan. Trades become an option, if something good pops up. I don’t advocate the idea; I just point out that it’s now feasible.

So back to the question: Suppose you package Duncan, Ryan and a non-trivial minor-league throw-in — something like Boggs or Herron. Just how attractive is that package in a market where more teams are looking to acquire young, cheap talent? Could they get a good enough starting pitcher to justify it? Who’d be the likely trade partner, if any?

well the cards pitchers all better give up 3 runs or less each game because the offense will be horrible

1. we don’t have a leadoff hitter, maybe Tony will be quirky and let the pitcher bat here

2. Ankiel: who knows how he’ll do

3. Pujols: won’t get pitched to, no protection

4. Rolen: doesnt hit anymore

5. Edmonds: doesn’t hit anymore

6. Duncan: huge slumps & strikeouts

7. Molina: improving but not good

8. Kennedy: just plain *****

9. Izturis: can’t hit either

Ludwick: lower BA

Schumacher: no power

Encarnacion: will he play again?

sorry i forgot Miles who should be the starting 2nd baseman

I think that adding Izturis is really a poor move. Even if he lives up to his defensive reputation (which I have my doubts about), he can’t hit his way out of a paper bag. The Cardinals can’t afford to give up any offense to gain a couple extra feet of range at shortstop. Their “starting” position players haven’t exactly been putting up earth shattering numbers offensively. I doubt Rolen’s shoulder will ever allow him to be the same hitter he was a couple of years ago. And as much as I love to watch him play, Edmonds just doesn’t have it at the plate anymore. The rest of the new outfield loves to strike out way too much. Molina had a nice year, but can he continue that success? Pujols is a great hitter, but his feet seem to be bothering him more and more and he can’t do it by himself.
Unless they put together some sort of deal to boost plate production at 2nd, 3rd, or CF and add a legit leadoff guy this deal makes no sense to me.

Let’s just hope in addition to Izturis, that the Cardinals will do a bit more this offseason. Watching the Hot Stove reports, and reading blogs and newspaper articles reveal almost no whispers about the Cardinals…at all. We know they need rotation help and offensive production. But will anything actually be done about it? I hope so. I mean, you don’t want to spend overblown prices, but you don’t want to stand pat either. I mean, shopping in bargain bins for Adam Kennedy’s and Kip Well’s for another wasted season is just getting old. We’re very lucky that we won the World Series when we did.

NO COMMENT!!! waiting for some prommising pitching not bargin infeilders. Now who’s going to lead off ???

When do we discover who they offered arbitration to? there’s just about 1.5 hrs left.

This is a very bad signing. Why pay someone $2.85 million when he is worse than a replacement you could have from AAA for next to nothing? Izturis’ fielding numbers last year were only slightly better than an average player, and he is a truly awful hitter. Cards would be dramatically better off to play Ryan at SS and save the money for a player that would actually improve the team.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 20,957 other followers

%d bloggers like this: