Reds sign Cesar Izturis to minor league deal

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Cesar Izturis will be in camp with the Reds after agreeing to a minor-league deal that includes an invitation to spring training.

Izturis, who spent last season as a utility man for the Brewers and Nationals, is one of 15 non-roster invitees to spring training for the Reds. He remains a good defensive infielder at age 33, but was always a bad hitter and hasn’t topped a .600 OPS since 2009.

Considering how much manager Dusty Baker loves veterans and doesn’t seem to mind utility types who can’t hit, I’d be surprised if Izturis doesn’t make the Opening Day roster.

Tom Ricketts says the Cubs don’t have any more money

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Cubs owner Tom Ricketts met the media in Mesa, Arizona today and said a couple of things that were fun.

First, he addressed the controversy that arose earlier this month when emails of his father’s — family patriarch Joe Ricketts — were leaked, showing him forwarding and approvingly commenting on racist jokes. Ricketts apologized for those serving as a “distraction” for the Cubs which, OK. He also said “Those aren’t the values our family was raised with… I never heard my father say anything remotely racist.” If you choose to believe that a 77-year-old conservative guy who loves racist emails — who once spearheaded an anti-Obama ad campaign that required a “literate African-American” as its spokesman — hasn’t said racist stuff a-plenty, that’s between you and your credulity.

More relevant to the 2019 Cubs is this:

The Cubs aren’t in the same position as some other contenders in that (a) they don’t have a cheap payroll; and (b) are not obvious candidates for the big free agents like Harper or Machado, but I still find that comment pretty rich for an owner of one of baseball’s marquee franchises in a non-salary cap league. If nothing else, it’s an admission by Ricketts that he, like the other owners, consider the Luxury Tax to be a defacto salary cap.