While the Tigers continue to express interest in a trade for Atlanta’s Martin Prado, they have identified a Plan B. According to Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, it’s Maicer Izturis of the Angels.
The Tigers are currently looking for upgrades at second base, third base and the leadoff spot, so while Izturis isn’t quite on the level of Prado, he at least has experience in those areas.
Izturis, 31, batted .276/.334/.388 with five home runs, 38 RBI, nine stolen bases and a .722 OPS over 494 plate appearances this season while splitting time between second base, third base and shortstop. The switch-hitter is owed $3.8 million in 2012 in the final year of a three-year, $10 million contract.
An interesting tidbit today from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, who noted that ongoing talks between agent Scott Boras and the Padres have focused more on starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel than slugger Bryce Harper. Earlier this week, there were conflicting reports on the Padres’ level of interest in Harper — MLB Network’s Jon Heyman heard the club had not ruled out another big signing after getting Manny Machado, while Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune talked to multiple sources who believed otherwise — but any agreement between the two is looking unlikelier by the day.
As for Keuchel, Rosenthal cautions that a potential deal is still a “longshot,” especially as the team has other, cheaper options in mind. The 31-year-old southpaw turned down a qualifying offer from the Astros last year and is likely angling for something north of the five-year, $90 million contract extension he rejected from the club in 2016. He’s coming off of another solid performance in Houston, where he went 12-11 in 34 starts with a 3.74 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 6.7 SO/9, and 3.6 fWAR through 204 2/3 innings in 2018.
While Keuchel has failed to garner substantial interest around the league this offseason, Heyman points out that the Phillies are looking to establish themselves as frontrunners for the lefty — and they’re far less likely to have hang-ups about his asking price, too.