Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Gone Grady Gone

Sizemore had a nice spring, but struggled mightily once the season got underway
The Boston Red Sox designated Grady Sizemore for assignment today, bringing an end to their attempt to salvage his career. Sizemore's comeback attempt, one of the baseball seasons more positive stories during spring training, stalled shortly after the season began when it became apparent that his once elite skills were no longer intact. Sizemore was not even a capable fourth outfielder, much less the 30/30 All-Star he used to be.

The time had come to pull the plug on Sizemore, who had the sixth-lowest OPS among players with at least 200 plate appearances this season. A shell of his former self, Sizemore was hitting a paltry .216/.288/.324 after going 0-for-4 in Sunday's extra-inning loss to Cleveland. The combination of power, speed, and defense that made him one of the game's best all-around players five years ago was nowhere to be seen, a distant memory.

Quite frankly, the Red Sox should have cut bait weeks ago, when both Sizemore and the team were slumping. There was no sense in wasting at-bats on Sizemore, a thirtysomething has-been, when Boston's farm system is quite literally overflowing with talent. The Red Sox have elected to fill his roster spot by recalling 23 year-old Garin Cecchini, who debuted on June 1st and appears to be the new third baseman of the future (your days are numbered, Will Middlebrooks).

So while Cecchin's major league career is just taking off, Sizemore's is likely finished. Over his past 156 games spanning parts of three seasons, the soon-to-be 32 year-old is a .219/.283/.361 hitter with 161 strikeouts worth -0.3 bWAR. Teams don't have room for an outfielder who can't hit and doesn't offer much defensively or on the bases, especially one with the extensive injury history of Sizemore.

If this is indeed the end of the line for Sizemore, you have to feel disappointed about how quickly he crashed and burned. A career that began with so much promise, seemingly destined to land him in Cooperstown, only to be ravaged by injuries right when he should have been coming into his prime. He was robbed of what were supposed to be the best years of his career, and baseball fans that missed his early years in Cleveland were deprived of watching him perform at an elite level. Few superstars have ever been so unlucky in the injury department so young, and consequently his career is ending much too soon.

You have to give Sizemore credit for trying to come back, for giving it one more shot and defying the odds after missing two full seasons. It's just a shame it didn't work out.

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