The Tigers, who may or may not be in the market for a LF, lost one of the options today when it was announced that Cleveland has re-signed Grady Sizemore. Sizemore got a one year deal for 5M dollars, that could get as high as 9M dollars with incentives from the Indians. A lot of those incentives no doubt will come if Sizemore actually can stay on the field and reach certain production plateaus. Sizemore has battled major injury issues throughout the past three seasons, and hasn’t played a full season since 2008.
It’s a move for the Indians I believe they had to make. If Sizemore proves healthy in 2012, he obviously has the potential to be one of the better outfielders in the American League. I don’t think the Indians would want him doing that with another team, especially one in the A.L. Central like the Tigers. Sizemore is still young at 29 years old, so if he can maintain his health, there is no reason that he can’t return to a guy that will provide some pop at the top of the Indians order.
His best season probably came in 2006, when at the age of 23, he finished 11th in the MVP voting. That season he posted an OPS of .907, which is a career high for Sizemore. From 2005 to 2008, he was one of the best young players in the game, having 4 consecutive 20/20 seasons. In 2008, he finished that four season run with a 30/30 season, his first and only of his career. In 2009, the constant injuries starting to hit and derail every season since, and that is what led to speculation that Sizemore might be moving off of the more demanding CF position to LF.
Although I am not surprised in the least that Cleveland re-signed Sizemore, there had been rumblings about this for days, this is a risky move for the Indians. Their franchise can’t afford to toss 5M dollars out the window, and that is potentially what could happen here. On the flip side, if Sizemore does play a full season, this could be a huge bargain. Even if he does hit all of his incentives. Why?
If Sizemore reaches his incentives, I have to imagine it is because he is playing well. I know one of the incentives is him reaching 450 at-bats, and I have to think the Indians will be cautious with him, making sure that he is going to get some rest regularly. I’m sure there are performance incentives as well, and if he reaches those, than I think the signing is worth it easily. We are talking about a guy capable of All Star type production for at most 9M dollars. For a comparison, remember that Alex Rios is slated to make 12M dollars in 2012.
I think this is a good move for both Sizemore and the Indians. I don’t think he would’ve gotten more on the open market. The Indians were likely to pay a little bit more considering he is a name and player Indians fans recognize. The Indians themselves didn’t necessarily have a better option from within, and they don’t have the money to go out and get big free agents.