Jays add infielder Maicer Izturis, righty pitcher Jeremy Jeffress

Fitzgerald Cecilio – 4E Sports Reporter

Toronto, ON, Canada (4E Sports) – The Toronto Blue Jays have signed infielder Maicer Izturis to a three-year, $9 million deal and added more depth to their bullpen by acquiring right-hander Jeremy Jeffress from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for cash considerations.

The $9 million deal was the biggest so far guaranteed by Alex Anthopoulos since becoming GM in 2009. His biggest so far before signing Izturis was a one-year, $4.5 million contract to left-hander Darren Oliver last year.

The contract also includes a club option in 2016 valued at an additional $3 million. Izturis will also make a contribution to the Jays Care Foundation to support its efforts in the community as part of the agreement.

The signing makes Izturis the early favorite to start at second base in 2013 but he’ll expected to compete for the job with rookie Adeiny Hechavarria. The Blue Jays could also put Izturis into a utility infielder role.

The 32-year-old Izturis appeared in 100 games for the Angels last season and posted a .256 average with two homers and 20 RBIs. He also recorded 17 stolen bases in 19 attempts during his ninth season in the big leagues.

Izturis is a switch-hitter who has the ability to play three infield positions and owns a career .337 on-base percentage.

The signing came after the Blue Jays sent infielder Mike Aviles and utility man Yan Gomes to the Cleveland Indians for hard-throwing right-hander Esmil Rogers.

Jeffress made 13 appearances for Kansas City in 2012 and posted a 6.75 ERA without earning a decision. He also pitched in 38 games at the Minor League level, with a 4.85 ERA and 64 strikeouts in 59 1/3 innings.

A 16th overall selection in the 2006 Draft, the 25-year-old Jeffress was suspended twice for violating the Minor League drug policy, which he would later admit was for the use of marijuana.

Jeffress also was arrested last year for a domestic assault and criminal damage. The charges were later dropped, but he was forced to apologize and later served 20 hours of community service for disorderly conduct.

In three Major League seasons with Milwaukee (2010) and Kansas City (2011-12), Jeffress has made 37 relief appearances, posting a 2-1 record with one save and a 4.89 ERA.

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