Maicer Izturis: Confidence for the Last Expo

The last Montreal Expo is batting .388 early in the season and looking like the solution to so many problems that ailed the Angels last year. He has been the first decent leadoff hitter since the departure of Chone Figgins (who, by the way, fell off a statistical cliff in Seattle). Izzy has been a solid defender at three positions (2B, SS, 3B) and even in games where he does not start, the possibility of a switch-hitting pinch-hitter looms, giving the Angels a much greater depth than one might initially ascertain.

And all of it in an unassuming four foot eleven package. Okay, I kid, I kid, he has got to stand at least five foot six. He might weight a hundred sixty. Regardless, he can hit line drives to the gap with the best of them and if he can just stay stretched out and healthy that adds exactly what was missing last season to the Angels lineup.

Izturis was acquired by then-General Manager Bill Stoneman along with Juan Rivera in a trade for Jose Guillen in November of 2004. It is the gift that keeps on giving, although Guillen's karma could be said to have rearrived in Anaheim in the form of the albatross Vernon Wells contract that came in exchange for sending Rivera back to Canada. Izzy seemed to be an all-glove throw-in by the then-MLB managed Expos. Stoneman's back was against the wall as Guillen's very public insubordination had guaranteed the removal of his halo.

Fast forward all these years and you have the makings of an Angels legend: In season after season of part-timing, pinch-hitting, substituting, playing stiff and consistently avoiding consistency, Izturis has compiled 11.3 Wins Above Replacement as an Angel - this is 19th all-time in franchise history for position players. For comparison, Gary DiSarcina had 4,032 Plate Appearances and compiled 9.6 WAR. Izturis has 2,050. We can all have confidence that the Last Expo is on his way to being remembered as an all-time Angels great.

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