2012 in Review: Grady Sizemore

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.

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.

Career Stats

Year Age Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
2004 21 CLE 43 159 138 15 34 6 2 4 24 2 0 14 34 .246 .333 .406 .739 97
2005 22 CLE 158 706 640 111 185 37 11 22 81 22 10 52 132 .289 .348 .484 .832 123
2006 23 CLE 162 751 655 134 190 53 11 28 76 22 6 78 153 .290 .375 .533 .907 133
2007 24 CLE 162 748 628 118 174 34 5 24 78 33 10 101 155 .277 .390 .462 .852 123
2008 25 CLE 157 745 634 101 170 39 5 33 90 38 5 98 130 .268 .374 .502 .876 133
2009 26 CLE 106 503 436 73 108 20 6 18 64 13 8 60 92 .248 .343 .445 .788 110
2010 27 CLE 33 140 128 15 27 6 2 0 13 4 2 9 35 .211 .271 .289 .560 58
2011 28 CLE 71 295 268 34 60 21 1 10 32 0 2 18 85 .224 .285 .422 .706 96
8 Yrs 892 4047 3527 601 948 216 43 139 458 134 43 430 816 .269 .357 .473 .830 120
162 Game Avg. 162 735 641 109 172 39 8 25 83 24 8 78 148 .269 .357 .473 .830 120
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/3/2012.
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