Tag: Grady Sizemore

Grady Sizemore and Phillies Agree to Contract: Latest Details and Reaction

Grady Sizemore‘s next stop in his attempted career resurrection has taken him to the Philadelphia Phillies. The three-time MLB All-Star signed a minor league contract with the organization and will report to the Triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs on Thursday, per MLBRosterMoves:

According to CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman, Sizemore will have the option to opt out in July:

By now, most fans are aware of the 31-year-old’s career trajectory. He was one of the most exciting players in the league with the Cleveland Indians from 2005 to 2008. Sizemore ran into injuries in 2009 and never fully kicked the problem.

The Boston Red Sox took a flier on him this year, but in 185 at-bats, he hit a meager .216 with two home runs and 15 RBI. The Red Sox designated him for assignment on June 17.

FanGraphs’ David Cameron joked about the Phillies needing another player 30-plus years old with a checkered medical history:

Zachary D. Rymer of Bleacher Report echoed the sentiment, calling the move typical of general manager Ruben Amaro:

The last-place Phillies aren’t exactly in a position of strength, though. When Sizemore was designated for assignment by the Red Sox, Ace of MLB Stats compared his slash line with that of Domonic Brown, who has started 73 games for Philadelphia:

At the very least, signing Sizemore, especially to a minor league deal, carries very little risk. Last year, nobody thought Scott Kazmir would be a viable starting pitcher for the Indians and then he went on to win 10 games and earn a nice contract with the Oakland Athletics in the offseason.

Sometimes, teams catch lightning in a bottle with oft-injured former All-Stars.  

Maybe Philadelphia is the right place at the right time for Sizemore and he returns somewhat to the player he was in his prime. If it doesn’t work out, the Phillies have little invested financially and can let him go later in the year.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Grady Sizemore’s Failed Red Sox Comeback Could Be End of the Road

The writing had been on the wall for several weeks.

On Tuesday afternoon, that writing finally spelled the end of Grady Sizemore‘s unlikely comeback story, as the Boston Red Sox designated the 31-year-old outfielder for assignment to make room for prospect Garin Cecchini, as tweeted by Alex Speier of WEEI.com.

That Sizemore’s resurgent tale will not have a happy ending should come as a surprise to no one. He had a slash line of just .224/.285/.422 in 295 plate appearances this season, hitting two homers and stealing no bases. Sizemore’s once Gold Glove-worthy defense in center field regressed noticeably, and the outfielder looked far more comfortable in a corner spot.

In essence, most of the five tools that once made Sizemore one of the more exciting players in the league seem to have abandoned him.

Red Sox GM Ben Cherington spoke to the move, making it clear that Sizemore’s poor play forced the Red Sox’s hand:

Unfortunately, that means that Tuesday’s roster move might not just spell the end of Sizemore’s time with the Red Sox: It may mark his final days as a major leaguer.

In many ways, it’s remarkable that Sizemore was able to keep his hold on a roster spot for as long as he did. Signed to an incentive-laden contract in spring training as a low-risk, high-reward acquisition, Sizemore faced long odds to make the Red Sox roster to begin with. But thanks to an explosive spring in which he hit .310/.356/.429, he looked poised to edge Jackie Bradley Jr. in the battle for everyday center fielder.

When Shane Victorino hit the disabled list right before the season began, Phase 1 of Sizemore’s comeback story was complete.

At first, it looked like Boston’s faith in Sizemore would be rewarded. He hit .308/.357/.513 through his first 11 games and 42 plate appearances, even leading off in several instances.

Since then, however, there’s truly been no reason for optimism. Sizemore was hitting .208/.275/.361 by the end of April. Save for a few hot streaks here and there, he never turned a corner. Once his new defensive limitations became apparent, it really became a matter of “if” and not “when” he’d find himself released.

Victorino’s recurring injuries likely bought Sizemore some time, and it’s possible that the uninspired offensive play of Bradley contributed to Boston’s decision to keep him, too. But in hindsight they likely would’ve been better off cutting him in April, rather than sending Daniel Nava down to the minors. And with the sudden emergence of Brock Holt, Sizemore truly became an unneeded piece on the team.

As Tom Caron of NESN noted on Twitter, John Farrell acknowledged that Sizemore’s DFA had as much to do with others as it had to do with his own performance:

The Red Sox are saying all the right things when it comes to finding Sizemore new opportunities, but it’s hard to see those opportunities truly existing at the major league level.

According to FanGraphs, Sizemore ranks 107th in outfielder fWAR among players with at least 100 plate appearances this season, registering at minus-0.4. While he was better against right-handed hitting than left-handers, his .241/.311/.361 line against righties is hardly inspiring. And now that Sizemore’s speed and defensive prowess have left him, there’s not a ton of reasons for another team to offer him a roster spot.

That’s not to say that Sizemore’s days as a baseball player are over. It’s quite unlikely that another team will claim him from the Red Sox, meaning he could choose to accept an assignment to Pawtucket. He could sign on elsewhere as a minor league free agent, or he could sit out the rest of the year and try to catch on somewhere else next year instead.

The odds aren’t in his favor, but when it comes to baseball, never say never.

But without the skills to help a competitive team or the upside to provide a second-division team with a significant payoff, it’s hard to see Sizemore landing on his feet right away.

Sizemore’s story of perseverance truly deserves our admiration. Before the season, he had played in just 104 games since the start of 2010 and hadn’t played at all in 2012 or 2013. Most people assumed his career was over, and while it didn’t work out in Boston, Sizemore at least demonstrated the ability to stay on the field.

But staying on the field doesn’t matter if you can’t produce, and while Sizemore’s health at least held up long enough for him to truly test his body once more, it’s likely of little consolation to a man whose time in the majors could be done for good.

If nothing else, Sizemore should serve as a reminder to us all to savor the game’s stars while we can, because you never know when the game might take them away. The seasons are long, the wear on the body is real and skills can erode seemingly overnight.

No matter where he ends up, let’s hope Sizemore gets one more chance to write his final chapter.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

2014 Boston Red Sox: Biggest Winners and Losers of Spring Training

The Boston Red Sox are getting closer to starting the defense of their World Series title when they begin regular season play on March 31 against the Baltimore Orioles.

Some questions about the roster have been answered during their time in Fort Myers, Fla. However, new ones have appeared due to certain performances, and others still need to be figured out.

A few players have taken full advantage of their opportunity this spring, while others aren’t getting the results they were hoping for. Unfortunately, strong performances from some in Red Sox camp won’t end with a spot on the Opening Day roster.

With the 2014 season-opener less than a week away, let’s take a look at some of Boston’s biggest winners and losers from this spring.


All player statistics sourced from RedSox.com, unless otherwise noted.

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6 Hidden Free-Agent Gems That Are Being Overlooked for 2014

The main focus of the MLB offseason will soon turn to Japanese star Masahiro Tanaka, who will be posted by the Rakuten Golden Eagles, and free-agent starters Matt Garza, Ubaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana, who are all still on the board.

While most interested teams have been waiting to see how the Tanaka situation unfolds, top free-agent hitters Nelson Cruz and Stephen Drew are also still available, along with closers Grant Balfour and Fernando Rodney.

Aside from those players, there aren’t many available on the free-agent market who are expected to make a significant impact on a big league roster. That doesn’t mean there aren’t those who could fill an integral role and help a team in some way, even if it’s at the back of the rotation or off of the bench.

In July, contending teams will be looking for these types of players, who can be had now at a likely bargain rate. 

Here are six such free agents who are still available. 

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Grady Sizemore Mets Rumors: Why He’s Perfect Risk-Reward Bet for Mets

The New York Mets don’t have a lot of money to spend this winter. 

Though the team has one to two openings in its outfield, general manager Sandy Alderson hasn’t chased a big-name free agent like B.J. Upton or Nick Swisher. Trading for a player like Justin Upton won’t happen because the Mets are in the position of acquiring prospects, not dealing them away. 

Without spending much money or giving up prospects in trade, how are the Mets supposed to get a outfielder? The best option for them might be taking a chance on a player who won’t cost much because he hasn’t played since Sept. 29, 2011. 

Grady Sizemore showed some promise in 2011 after recovering from microfracture surgery on his left knee. He hit 10 home runs with 32 RBI in 295 plate appearances for the Cleveland Indians, showing glimpses of the player who averaged 25 home runs and 80 RBI in his prime and was one of the best center fielders in MLB

Optimistic about his health, the Tribe re-signed Sizemore for one year and $5 million. Three months later, he underwent back surgery and was only projected to miss eight to 12 weeks. But while he was working his way back, Sizemore developed a knee injury in August. By then, it was so late in the season that the Tribe decided to shut him down for the rest of the year. 

According to The Plain Dealer‘s Paul Hoynes, the Indians might be willing to bring Sizemore back this year on a minor league contract with the hopes of earning a major league roster spot in spring training. It’s difficult to imagine another team offering anything more than that.

Enter the Mets. Meet the Mets! Step right up and greet the Mets!

According to SNY’s Kevin Burkhardt, this could actually happen.

At this point in his career, if Sizemore is able to come back healthy, he’s probably better off as a right fielder. Sizemore has only played center field in the major leagues. But according to FanGraphs‘ Ultimate Zone Rating, he was a below-average defensive player over his last three seasons. 

That works for the Mets, who will probably play Kirk Nieuwenhuis in center field next season. Nieuwenhuis was called up from Triple-A Buffalo after Andres Torres suffered a calf injury on Opening Day and was impressive for the first two months of the season.

He played like an NL Rookie of the Year candidate, batting .268 with a .730 OPS, seven home runs and 25 RBI during the first half of the season. Unfortunately, Nieuwenhuis fell off the table in July, batting .105 with a .322 OPS, and was sent back down to the minors for the rest of the season.

There really aren’t that many better options for the Mets. As reported by the New York Post‘s Mike Puma, the team has shown interest in Cody Ross. But he’s seeking a three-year, $25 million contract and Alderson doesn’t want to go over two years for any free agent. 

Even if the Mets did sign Ross, Sizemore is worth taking a chance on. He could compete with Nieuwenhuis and the recently acquired Collin Cowgill for the starting center field spot. If he loses out there, he could back up Ross—who hit .256 against right-handed pitching—in right field. 

This is exactly the sort of low-risk/high-reward move the Mets should be making in their current financial state. 

Last January, the Mets cut their payroll by $50 million, going from $143 million in player salaries to $94 million. That didn’t figure to change very much this year, though the team picked up contract options for David Wright and R.A. Dickey. 

Wright was signed to a seven-year, $122 million contract extension in late November. But that didn’t mean that the Mets had suddenly opened the vault again. The entire deal is actually an eight-year, $138 million package, yet calls for Wright to defer $15.5 million through 2018, according to ESPN’s Jayson Stark

The team’s tight payroll situation is why Alderson was haggling with Dickey on a two-year contract extension. Though the Mets likely weren’t going to contend with Dickey anyway, re-signing him seemed like something of a no-brainer. The pitching staff needed him at the top of the rotation. He was one of the team’s only selling points with fans. 

However, Alderson should be praised for the haul of prospects he received from the Toronto Blue Jays for Dickey. The Mets have their catcher of the future in Travis d’Arnaud and another promising prospect for their starting rotation in Noah Syndergaard

A team building for the future needs some stopgap players to fill out the roster until its minor leaguers develop. Sizemore is the perfect sort of player for that role at this point.

Signing him isn’t the only move the Mets should make. Alderson shouldn’t clap his hands and declare himself done after that. An outfield of Lucas Duda, Nieuwenhuis or Sizemore and possibly Mike Baxter isn’t going to draw more fans to Citi Field next year. 

But some team out there is going to take a chance on Sizemore. It may not work out, but the financial risk shouldn’t be significant. Why shouldn’t that team be the Mets? 


Follow @iancass on Twitter

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

5 Creative Ways for the Cleveland Indians to Increase Attendance

Though they have been competitive in 2012, holding first place in the AL Central for 43 days this season, the Cleveland Indians have struggled to get fans to buy tickets for games at Progressive Field. The Indians rank 30th (that is last for newbies) in Major League Baseball in attendance, averaging 18,298 fans over 36 home dates as the team heads into the last two games against the Cincinnati Reds at Progressive Field on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Those 18,298 fans are 1,100 fans per game fewer than the 29th ranked Oakland A’s. Based on the average ticket price, the Indians have the seventh lowest average ticket price, $20.42, in MLB. Along with that, the Indians provide the ninth lowest fan cost index (FCI) in baseball, $173.66, which is comprised of four adult average-price tickets, two small draft beers, four small soft drinks, four regular size hot dogs, parking for one car, two game programs and two of the least expensive, adult-sized caps (via Team Marketing Report).

While the FCI is up just 1.6 percent (the league average was up 2.4 percent), the Indians average ticket price went up 10.4 percent, (the league average was 0.0 percent since it went up just one cent). This isn’t to say that the lack of attendance has anything to do with the prices or the play on the field, but whatever the reasons are for Progressive Field to be filled just 42.1 percent of each home game in 2012, the Indians need to find ways to fix it.

Attendance leads the revenue of a small-market team, and if the gates aren’t churning, it is very unlikely that the Indians will be able to “improve” through free agency.  Here, we’ll take a look at ways the Indians can increase attendance over the remainder of the 2012 season.

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Cleveland Indians: The 10 Greatest Trades of the Mark Shapiro Era

Mark Shapiro is one of the most polarizing GM’s in professional sports. ‘Shap’ took over as Cleveland’s GM following the departure of John Hart, a man many identify as synonymous with the winning Tribe baseball of the 1990s.

Shapiro’s arrival and tenure as Indians GM coincided with the team’s sale to the much-maligned Larry Dolan. As Shapiro will forever be linked to Dolan, many Tribe fans are quick to associate words like “cheap” and “rebuilding” as hallmarks of his legacy.

Shapiro has the dubious distinction as being the only GM to trade away successive reigning Cy Young winners. The trades of CC Sabathia in 2008 and Cliff Lee in 2009 will live forever in Cleveland Indians infamy.

Cleveland fans were encouraged to remain patient after both deals were made, as the Tribe obtained a total of seven prospects for Sabathia and Lee. Three and four years removed from both trades, however, only Michael Brantley is an everyday player for the Tribe, and he’s had his own struggles with inconsistency.

Despite the perceived ineptitude, however, Shapiro and his protégé Chris Antonetti have laid the groundwork for a competitive young Indians team that is currently atop the AL Central.

Setting aside the Sabathia and Lee deals, I’m going to focus strictly on Mark Shapiro’s history of successful trades, many of which go unnoticed by the pitchfork-wielding mob of nay-saying Tribe fans.

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2012 MLB Spring Training: Updating 20 Biggest Injuries in Camp

Do you think the Sizemore family doesn’t matter?

Just ask the Cleveland Indians and the Oakland Athletics, who already have lost one of their own in training camp and been left to scramble for replacements.

The early days of spring training have seen a number of assorted hurts and physical setbacks, some of which are sure to impact the regular season. In reverse order, here are the 20 most significant ones thus far:

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Grady Sizemore Injured: Why the Cleveland Indians Need Shelley Duncan to Shine

With Grady Sizemore likely to miss Opening Day with a back injury, the Cleveland Indians will likely need to have Shelley Duncan produce in his absence.

Even the most optimistic Sizemore supporters like me figured that he would manage to make it to Spring Training before getting hurt. Somehow, that’s not the case.

While I still have faith that Grady will have some value this year, we’ve already reached the point in the season where the Tribe will need to find someone to replace Sizemore in the lineup.

Considering how I think Michael Brantley should get a shot in center field and could have a breakout year, the Indians will probably need to find a replacement in left field for at least part of the season.

I’d like to see Shelley Duncan get the first shot at filling that role.

2011 saw Duncan establish himself as a legitimate major league hitter. He had a strong .260/.324/.484 slash line, .808 OPS (123 OPS+), .346 wOBA (118 wRC+), 11 HR and 47 RBI in 247 PA. Despite the average OBP, he showed enough power to make himself a well above-average hitter.

There’s a good chance that Duncan will continue to improve in 2012. Check out how Bill James projects him for 2012:

.249/.335/.465 slash line, .344 wOBA, 13 HR, 45 RBI in 270 PA

Not a bad line at all. Plus, since that projection is only for a part-time role (270 PA would be roughly 64 full games), Duncan would be even better if these projections were stretched out for a full season, hitting 31 home runs and driving in 108 runs.

Now, the trade off with Duncan is that he’s not a great defender or baserunner. Assuming he’s slightly below average defensively and an average baserunner (assumptions that are backed up by the numbers on his Fangraphs page), we can use the Simple WAR calculator to get Duncan’s projected WAR to be around 1.9.

A 1.9 WAR isn’t going to be getting Duncan into the Hall of Fame or an All-Star game, but it is a perfectly good number for a regular player. Also considering the value Sizemore’s held over the past two years (-0.1 fWAR in 104 games), Duncan could end up being an upgrade.

There’s still a chance that Sizemore gets healthy and figures it out in 2012. But the key thing to remember is even though Shelley Duncan isn’t as big of a name as Grady Sizemore, he very well could be more use in helping the Indians win.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Fantasy Baseball Round Up: Jake Peavy and other Low Risk, High Reward Players

At this point of the season, all the high risk-high reward players are either sitting on someone’s bench or on their DL. But there are still some guys out there who can make a difference on your league’s standings, both short-term and long-term. As we pass the quarter-way point of the season, here are some moves that could pay off big time if you make them.

Short-term difference makers: 

  • RHP Jake Peavy, Chicago White Sox: Right now he is only 62 percent owned in Yahoo! Leagues and coming off a complete game, three-hit shut out. Expect that number to increase. If he is still available, I would grab him. He may not be the Cy Young caliber pitcher he used to be, but he can certainly give you some top end fantasy innings each and every week, as long as he remains healthy.
  • OF Delmon Young, Minnesota Twins: This is a guy coming off a season where he posted a 77-21-112-.298 line in the heart of the Twins’ order. This year has been a complete turnaround, but after a brief DL stint, maybe Young can get back on track. He was a high draft pick that has been dropped in over 40 percent of leagues. Be the owner who picks him up and rubs it in your friend’s face who dropped him.
  • RHP Mike Tomlin, Cleveland Indians: The AL Central theme continues, this time with an emerging ace. Tomlin has thrown some gems this year and through 52.2 innings he has a 2.56 ERA and a minuscule 0.85 WHIP. His only downside is a low strikeout total, but if you can afford taking a hit for six strong innings, go for it.
  • 2B Chase Utley, Philadelphia Phillies: I know he is owned in 95 percent of leagues, but the window is still slightly open to make a trade for him. He is playing, and continues to make positive progress in his rehab in the Class A level. We all know what kind of player Utley has been, and while he may never return to that, he can definitely make a difference at a position as talent-scarce as second base.


Long-term difference makers: 

  • RHP Jonathan Broxton, Los Angeles Dodgers: I know he has stunk it up over the last two seasons, but if you have an open DL spot and need help in the saves area, it would be wise to stash him away. This is a guy who can dominate hitters in the National League, especially in the west. This is a closer who racked up 114 strikeouts in 2009 while compiling 36 saves. If he gets his velocity back, look out fantasy world.
  • 3B Pablo Sandoval, San Francisco Giants: He was well on his way to a great comeback season before breaking a bone in his wrist a few weeks ago. Now, 16 days after surgery, he is being allowed to play catch and resume baseball activity. Third base is extremely weak right now with both David Wright and Ryan Zimmerman on the DL and Alex Rodriguez speculated to have a problem with his hip again. Swing a deal for the Panda Bear and sure up your hot corner.
  • OF Grady Sizemore, Cleveland Indians: I wasn’t sure where to put him on, but he needs to be on here. We saw what we have been missing for the past year and a half from one of the most exciting players in baseball. His knee apparently has a deep bruise on the kneecap and he could be back in as few as 10 days. But it’s Sizemore so probably in a month.


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