Motor City Bengals has been throwing darts at the free agent and trade market dart board for over a month now, trying to identify and analyze players that may be a fit for the Tigers. Well, we have hit on a couple of guys that the Tigers appear to have some interest in. We talked about Martin Prado pretty much right away after it came out that he was possibly available. Now on MLB Trade Rumors, they are reporting the Tigers have some interest in infielder Maicer Izturis from the Los Angeles Angels.
Back on October 26th, MCB writer Jordan Gorosh touched upon Izturis as a possibility in this article.
Since the interest in Izturis and Prado for the Tigers appears real, I thought I would expound upon who I believed to be the better option.
I think at face value, when judging between the two players, you would definitely pick Prado right away on the basis of his production numbers on offense. But like most things, maybe we shouldn’t judge too quickly. Prado clearly has a track record of success with the bat. He is just 2 years removed from a season in 2010 in which he provided 4.4 WAR to the Braves, and has a career batting average of .293. His career wOBA of .337 and OPS of .775 is above league average, and his defensive versatility at positions of need has to be what intrigues the Tigers. Prado is also relatively cheap contract wise, and at 28 is entering the prime of his career. Leading many to believe that he could easily return to his 201o form after a tough 2011 season.
Izturis in contrast, is a little less intimidating offensively at first glance, especially in the power department. His career numbers bear that out, with Izturis showing a career ISO number of .114, while Prado sits at .141. This is essentially the biggest difference between the two players. Other than that, they are actually quite comparable. Izturis has a slightly better walk rate and K rate than Prado, and Prado has a better career OBP by .002 points, due in large part to having the BABIP advantage over Izturis for his career. Izturis provides quite a bit more speed on the base paths than Prado, and is consistently an above average defender, whereas Prado has been up and down defensively. At 31 years old, Izturis is entering his last year before free agency in 2013. Prado doesn’t hit free agency until 2014.
Personally, I don’t this decision is as easy as a lot of people may think. Prado’s bat is definitely more intriguing, but I am going to take into account the switch of leagues, despite Prado hitting over .300 in inter-league play. That is a little bit of a red flag to me, as well as Prado’s inability to catch up to good fastballs. Prado is younger, and has more years for the Tigers to play with, but he is also more expensive in terms of dollars, and is going to be quite a bit more expensive to acquire in terms of personnel.
Izturis’ ability to defend at a high level, get on base at a good rate, and ability to switch hit, has me leaning in his direction. And once you add to that, he is going to be cheaper, and more than likely cost less in a trade, the benefits of Izturis outweigh those of Prado. The Tigers would be getting a comparable player WAR wise over the last four years total, and for less.
Even though both guys are a clear upgrade over the current situation, and I would take either at 3B, 2B, or LF, the winner in this showdown to me is Maicer Izturis.
Who do you got? Let’s discuss.