Thanks to reader Eli for tipping us off to this love letter disguised as a piece of sports journalism
. Someone named Mike Downey thinks Cesar Izturis is the best thing since the Spontaneous Multiple Orgasm Machine. What, that hasn't been invented yet? Well, then Izturis must be the best thing ever. Pun headline me, Downey:Maddux-for-Izturis gives team that glovin' feeling
Thank you. Please continue.In one of the Cubs' smartest maneuvers of this century, they have found themselves a player who could be a fixture in Wrigley Field's infield for the next five to 10 years.
Um, dude? You've already lost me. You're talking about Cesar Izturis. Little fella. Runs about 5'9", 189. Career OPS+ of 69 (OPS of .634). That guy. Maybe there's been a misunderstanding.Izturis is a beauty, a gem. Stick him next to third baseman Aramis Ramirez and leave him there daily for the rest of this year. You won't be sorry.
Will I be sorry if he OBPs .302, like he has so far this season with the Dodgers? Or could I possibly regret it if he matches his OBP from last year ... let's see, let me look it up ... also
.302? I've neglected to mention, of course, that his Gemminess Factor (GF) is 1.92 x 10^7.Ronny Cedeno can study him from the dugout or switch to second base. Whatever. A shortstop like this does not come along every day.
Yeah, you probably should bench one of your promising young players to let this black hole suck up at bats. Stunt his development a little, that'll get morale up.If only the Cubs had had a guy like this at shortstop in Game 6 of that 2003 National League Championship Series, they would have gone on to the World Series that year. Izturis would have vacuumed up that double-play ball that Alex Gonzalez booted and you would have never heard of Steve Bartman or a word about that bloody foul ball ever again.
Well, sure. Alex S. Gonzalez was/is terrible. You know what his career OPS+ is? 79. (A reminder: Izturis Career OPS+: 69).
Some of us believed the Cubs would be lucky to land a far-off future prospect or two while setting Maddux free. So the acquisition of Izturis comes as a pleasant surprise. No, more than pleasant ... a truly delightful surprise.
But enough with the suspense. Do you like
the deal or not?If this kid stays healthy—I know, I know, don't even go there—then the Cubs have acquired a genuine star in the making from the republic of Venezuela's apparently inexhaustible assembly line of shortstops.
So far we've got "genuine star," "delightful surprise," "a gem," and "a beauty." Is this a baseball article or my second grade teacher Miss Nash's weekly progress report on me? (I was very, very good at the second grade. Fucking killed
This makes up for Nomar Garciaparra being let go, for Rafael Furcal getting away because his price was obscenely high. Both those guys can hit with more power than Izturis, but neither can field a lick when compared with him.
Blah blah blah fielding metrics still in their infancy blah blah blah but still:
Rafael Furcal, 2005 FRAR (adjusted for season): 41
Cesar Izturis, 2005 FRAR (season-adjusted, this is the last year Izturis played short): 22A year ago or so, Izturis looked like the best shortstop in the National League, period.
His batting average through June 1 was .348. He led all of Major League Baseball in hits at that point. He stood second in the All-Star vote only to Garciaparra, who was in Chicago nursing yet another injury and accumulating votes strictly because of his name recognition.
Izturis tapered off after that.
I don't know, maybe because he's just not that good
? In his six-year career, Izturis has never:
OBPed above .330
SLGed abbove .381
or hit more than 4(!) home runs in a season.
Then, the master stroke:A couple of weeks ago, Dodgers manager Grady Little said of Izturis, "Even on nights when he doesn't get any hits, it's like he's driving in runs with his glove. That means as much to us as a guy hitting .350."
Even on nights when he doesn't get any hits (nights which are quite numerous), it's like he's driving in runs with his glove. Except he's not. He's failing to drive in runs at the plate, which is the only place you can actually drive in runs in the non-fictional game of baseball. Unless Izturis is Ozzie Smith in the field, which he is not, he's nothing more than a serviceable major league baseball player.
I just love this Grady Little quote. I can't stop reading it over and over again. "Driving in runs with his glove" means as much as a guy hitting .350. I'm sure Nomar, a guy who was actually hitting near .350 before he got hurt (okay, .327), would be ecstatic to hear that. Can we start arbitrarily saying guys are great "glove RBI"-men now? It could lead to amazing conversations like:
"Man, did you see that RDI that Torii Hunter gloved in the other day?"
"I know, what is that, like his 57th RDIGM (run driven in, glove method) on the year? What a genuinely, delightfully beautiful gemmy star he is!"
And now, Mike Downey, take us home:Trust me, this kid is going to put the "field" in Wrigley Field.
Labels: cesar izturis, mike downey