Finally! I’ve only been saying for months how Grady Sizemore is very much worth the risk on an incentive-laden deal. Kevin Burkhardt was the one to break the news to us in the twitterverse and I hope Sandy Alderson pursues the free agent center fielder. Michael Baron of MetsBlog said it’s unclear to know what type of player Sizemore will be years after these serious injuries, but he’s motivated more than ever right now to show he still has more left in the tank. Judging by what he did when he was healthy, it’s worth it for New York to take a shot on him.
Rumors have it Sandy Alderson is interested in a few outfielders, such as Coco Crisp, but Sizemore could be a good fit because he’s coming off microfracture surgery and he would come real cheap on a one-year deal. The 30-year-old has spent his entire career with the Cleveland Indians, and after suffering a back injury in 2011, Cleveland decided to bring him back on a one-year/$5 million deal to see if he had anything left in the tank, but he didn’t have the opportunity to because he went down with a season-ending injury in Spring Training.
May 28, 2011; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Cleveland Indians center fielder Grady Sizemore (24) at bat during the game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
There is no doubt bringing on Sizemore would be a risk due to his recent injury history, but before that started to wreck havoc on his career, he was one of the top lead-off hitters in the Major Leagues. Even with his last two disappointing seasons, he still sports a very respectable .269/.357/.473 line, including three straight trips to the All-Star game, two straight Gold Gloves, one Silver Slugger, three straight finishes in the top-15 of AL MVP voting, and some post-season experience with Cleveland as they made a run to the 2007 ALCS.
In addition to that, he’s hit 30+ doubles, 20+ homers, 70+ RBI, and 20+ steals in a season four times. He has struck out a lot in his career (average of 148 K’s per season), but he also gets on base a lot via the base on balls (average of 78 BBs per season), which fits right into the mold Sandy Alderson is trying to build in Flushing. His best overall year came in 2008, when he hit .268/.374/.502 with 33 homers, 90 RBI, 101 runs scored, 39 doubles, 38 stolen bases, and 98 walks en route to winning a Silver Slugger and Gold Glove award.
Although we can’t expect this kind of production from Sizemore again if he’s healthy, his track record is good enough for the Mets to take a flyer on him since the outfield is still a mess for 2013. He’s only appeared in 104 games since 2010, and since he’s been injured so much, his numbers don’t look all that impressive, so there is no way a team would overpay for him, especially not after the Indians wasted $5 million on him while he sat out all last year. As he’s gotten older and had to endure so many injuries, he doesn’t have his heart set on playing center field either, and is willing to move to a corner outfield spot, which proved to work well for Carlos Beltran, who has been consisntly healthy for some time now.
Contrary to popular opinion, I think the Mets only need to acquire one legitimate outfielder going into 2013. I trust and want both Lucas Duda and Kirk Nieuwenhuis to be run out every day like they were in the first half last year, and once they fall into a slump, Terry Collins needs to stick with them like he stuck by Ike Davis. They won’t know their true potential unless they let them play and take their bumps everyday in the Big Leagues. Sandy’s objective for the outfield is to get more power and speed. If he can’t acquire players like Crisp or Josh Willingham, Sizemore is worthy of a shot by giving him a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training and incentives if he makes the squad. He needs to get out of Cleveland and have a fresh start with a new team, and if he is truly healthy, he could give an organization both some power and speed. It won’t be on the level he was on from 2006-08, but it still could potentially be just as good as any of the other remaining free agent center fielders out there.
Should the Mets continue to pursue Grady Sizemore?