Grady Sizemore ranks as one of the greatest players in Indians history. From 2005 to 2008 he was one of the five or six best players in baseball, and looked to be headed for 9 or 10 All-Star Games and maybe even Cooperstown. Starting in 2009 though, Sizemore began to have problems keeping himself on the field. First it was his left (throwing) elbow, then it was his left knee, then it was his right knee, and finally his lower back. His operating room card was punched so many times, the last surgery was probably free.
For a look at players with a higher chance of actually helping (and a higher price tag to go with it), check out Let's Go Tribe's free agency series.
Sizemore was a free agent before the 2012 season, and because he hadn't been healthy for 2+ seasons, he re-signed with the Indians for just $5 million on a one-year deal. That's not a huge amount of money, but all of it wasted, as Sizemore didn't play a single inning all season. Rather than signing with anyone for 2013, Sizemore decided to sit out the season and work on getting healthy. There were reports in August that Sizemore felt he'd be ready for 2014, and he's certain to draw interest.
Given that it's been two years since he appeared in MLB and four years since he was a good player, that interest will be somewhat muted. I suspect he'll have to settle for minor league deal, with little money guaranteed, likely with playing time incentives that allow him to earn more if he actually makes the 25-man roster. I thought I was ready to quit Grady, but now I find myself thinking that if someone is going to sign him to a risk-free deal (and someone is), it ought to be the Indians.
GRADY SIZEMORE (all caps) is never coming back, and I'm not confident he'll even be a real contributor again, but I would have said the same thing about Scott Kazmir last winter, and here we are a few month later, contemplating whether the Indians should make him a $14.1 million qualifying offer. A small percentage of broken players do come back from oblivion, and it costs almost nothing for a team to see what happens. I don't know that Sizemore would even want to come back to Cleveland. He's said nothing but kind things, and I believe he's sincere, but he may want a fresh start somewhere else.
If he's open to heading to Goodyear in February on a minor league deal though, the Indians should do it. If you're against it, why? What's the risk? What makes Sizemore any different than Kazmir was a year ago? The only real difference I see is that we watched Grady's gradual collapse up close, so it left scars we don't have from any other player. That makes some Tribe fans gun shy, and I get that. If Sizemore does make it back though, I want it to be in Cleveland.