2012 WAR: 0.0 (Age 29)
2012 Salary: $5.0M (Free Agent)
2013 Status: Free Agent (8.056 Service Time)
The Indians signed Sizemore to a one-year deal after he explored offers from other clubs. Finding that no one was willing to offer him a multi-year deal, he ended up returning to the Indians in the hopes of having a successful season, then turning that into a long-term deal this winter.
But major injuries ended Sizemore's season before it even started. Sizemore underwent arthroscopic knee surgery after the 2011 season, and while working his way back from that surgery, he injured his back just a couple days into spring training. That required surgery, and put the rehab of his knee on hold. Towards the middle of the season, he seemed poised to at least play in some game action, but those hopes were ended when he was shut down for the season in mid-August when problems cropped up in his right knee again.
In the wake of the spring training injury, Peter Gammons wrote a column about Sizemore, comparing him to several other "all-out" players who had shortened careers.
Sizemore ran out every ball as if it were his last at-bat. He dove in the outfield and crashed into walls. "Do you ever worry about being the next Darin Erstad?" I asked him. "Someone who plays so hard he beats himself up and shortens his career?"
Sizemore stared back as if the question had been delivered in Sanskrit. Clearly, he'd never given the idea any thought whatsoever."I play the way I play," Sizemore answered, and looked down.
As Gammons noted, there have been players who played all out and had long and productive careers, even Hall of Fame careers. But Sizemore is not destined to be one of those exceptions, because even if he makes it back to the field, he's not going to be the same player that we remember from the mid-00s. And that's depressing, even if you aren't an Indians fan. For 4.5 seasons, Grady Sizemore was one of the best all-around players in baseball, and he still had room for improvement. Yes, he would have slowed down as he got older, which would have eroded his value in the field and on the base paths, but that would have been made up for by better power and a better approach at the plate. But even allowing for that, he still would have been a viable center fielder into his early 30s, and easily could have made the transition to left field.
But now? My heart says that he'll finally get back onto a major-league field in 2013, being a productive (but part-time) outfielder after playing a month or so in Columbus. My head says otherwise. If he wants to continue to play, he'll get a minor-league deal from someone, and try to work his way back via spring training and minor-league games, but that's if his body will allow him.
|162 Game Avg.||162||735||641||109||172||39||8||25||83||24||8||78||148||.269||.357||.473||.830||120|