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BASEBALL

Maicer Izturis, Angels agree on $10-million, three-year deal

The infielder, who would have been eligible for free agency next winter, set career highs last season in virtually every offensive category.

January 26, 2010|By Bill Shaikin

With one eye on the shaky market and another on his injury-filled track record, infielder Maicer Izturis forfeited a shot at a starting job in free agency in favor of a guaranteed $10 million from the Angels.

"He's never had the security of a guaranteed contract, much less a multiyear guaranteed contract," agent Peter Greenberg said. "He's very happy."

Izturis, 29, set career highs in virtually every offensive category last season, batting .300 with eight home runs and 13 stolen bases. He is expected to compete with Brandon Wood at third base but also back up Erick Aybar at shortstop and Howie Kendrick at second base.

"They really like Maicer's versatility," Greenberg said.

In avoiding arbitration with Izturis, the Angels guaranteed him $2.6 million this year, $3.1 million next year and $3.8 million in 2012, with a $500,000 signing bonus and up to $300,000 in incentive bonuses based on plate appearances in 2011 and 2012.

Izturis would have been eligible for free agency next winter, but this winter's market has not been kind to middle infielders. Craig Counsell, Jamey Carroll and Adam Everett all signed lesser deals than Izturis, and Orlando Cabrera, Adam Kennedy and Ron Belliard remain unsigned.

If Wood falters this season, or if Aybar or Kendrick suffers a significant injury, Izturis might establish himself as an everyday player, without the opportunity to try free agency next winter.

However, Izturis served six stints on the disabled list from 2005 to 2008, and Greenberg said another injury this season might have left Izturis with no guaranteed money next year.

Even without a starting job, Greenberg said, Izturis likes the Angels.

"He likes the fact the team wins all the time," Greenberg said.

bill.shaikin@latimes.com

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