By: Jay Blue
Canadian Baseball Network
The Toronto Blue Jays brought back a familiar face Friday, announcing the signing of Maicer Izturis to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training. Izturis, if you recall, was signed by the Blue Jays to a three-year contract (with an option for a fourth) worth a guaranteed $10 million on November 8, 2012. He hit a disappointing .236/.288/.310 in 2013, playing 107 games and getting 399 plate appearances and started to have injury troubles in 2014, blowing out his knee and then needing shoulder surgery.
On just a minor-league contract, Izturis provides the Blue Jays a little more depth for the infielders as he's able to play second and third base and has, in the past, spent significant time at shortstop. That said, if Izturis, a 35-year-old with a surgically-reconstructed knee, is playing shortstop for the Blue Jays at any point in 2016, it's probably time to jump off the bandwagon.
MLB.com released its Top-100 prospect list which featured only one Blue Jay, Anthony Alford. Alford wound up at #42 on the list, earning high grades for his "top-flight athleticism and physical tools, but it's his mature feel for the game which has scouts excited."
The top former Blue Jay on the list is shortstop Franklin Barreto who sits at #23. He takes criticism for his defense at shortstop but after hitting .302/.333/.500 with 13 home runs as a 19 year old in High-A, his bat is more than ready for the higher levels in the minors.
Another former Blue Jay, Jeff Hoffman, ranked at #52 with scouts drooling over his mid-90s fastball and big curve. The downside for Hoffman was that he doesn't strike out enough batters considering how good stuff is and MLB.com reasons that "his command isn't as sharp as his control."
Canadian Jameson Taillon ranks #54.