For half a season in 2007, César Izturis, who was one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball, was a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates. However, many fans may have forgotten this.
In the early-to-mid 2000s, the Pittsburgh Pirates had a revolving door of players coming and going in their clubhouse. Some of these players are remembered fondly by Pirate fans. Meanwhile, other players have been forgotten in time.
One of these players is shortstop César Izturis. The former National League Gold Glove Award winner came to the Pittsburgh Pirates in July 2007. Izturis remained with the team through the end of the 2007 season, but then moved on with his baseball career.
While Izturis always left a lot to be desired offensively, he was always a defensive wizard. So much so that in 2004 he took home the NL Gold Glove Award at shortstop. Although, an argument can be made that should have gone to Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Jack Wilson. But that’s a discussion for another day.
After spending four and a half seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Izturis was traded to the Chicago Cubs for Hall of Fame pitcher Greg Maddox in July 2006. Then on July 19, 2007, the Cubs traded Izturis to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
With the Pirates, Izturis played in 45 games. In those 45 games he hit for a .276/.310/.333 slash line to go with a 68 wRC+ and a lowly 4.1% extra base hit rate. While he struggled at the plate, Izturis continued to be one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball.
Despite his defensive prowess, the Pirates decline his options following the 2007 season. This made Izturis a free agent. After becoming a free agent, the switch hitter would go on to sign with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Izturis would spend the 2008 season in St. Louis, before playing for the Baltimore Orioles from 2009-2011. He would split the 2012 season with the Washington Nationals and Milwaukee Brewers. Izturis then spent his final MLB season as a member of the Cincinnati Reds in 2013.
While Izturis’s time with the Pittsburgh Pirates as limited, there was a time when he was one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball. While he has become a forgotten Pirate, he should be remember for his defensive prowess.