Lots of baseball news today with all of the options getting picked up and declined and then of course there is CC Sabathia, but one news item in particular caught my eye – the Indians declined Grady Sizemore‘s option (link).
The option was worth $8.5 million and back in 2008 or even 2009 declining that option would have seemed silly, but Sizemore has not been able to stay healthy, playing in just 210 games over the past three years.
Unthinkable as it might have been, Sizemore is now a free agent and still just 29-years-old. His past three seasons have been a disaster, but his first four seasons were unforgettable. In four years he averaged 160 games played, had a .372 OBP, and a .868 OPS while playing stellar center field. In 2007 Curtis Granderson finished in 10th place in the MVP voting, but most people still would have predicted that Sizemore would have the better future.
Many things have slowed him over the past three years starting with a groin injury during the World Baseball Classic in 2009. He also had elbow and hernia surgery performed that year. In 2010 it was microfracture surgery on his knee that kept him out most of the year. In 2011 he dealt with more knee problems and another hernia surgery.
Will those injuries be enough to keep the Yankees from being interested in Sizemore? It’s hard to say right now, but they were rumored to have considered Carlos Beltran as a possibility to replace Nick Swisher until they supposedly shied away because of his age and desire for a multi-year deal.
Sizemore is younger and because of the injuries potentially open to the idea of a shorter term deal. The Yankees could sign Sizemore and trade Swisher. Or they could even hold on to Swisher and unload him at the deadline if Sizemore can prove he can handle playing every day.
The only problem is the potential for disaster. If the Yankees dump Swisher to go after Sizemore and he gets hurt and can’t play then that’s a big hole in the lineup. That could be a problem that is very hard to overcome for an aging lineup.
Still, if Sizemore is agreeable to an Eric Chavez like deal – a base salary with incentives based on time served on the roster – then it’s hard not to like the idea of pursuing him. They thought about going after Beltran, this is very similar except he is younger and at least as much potential if healthy.