It’s been a while since Grady Sizemore‘s name was relevant in baseball. Back in those days, he was one of the brightest young outfielders in the game. By 25 years old, Sizemore accumulated three All Star appearances, two gold gloves, and one silver slugger. He could field, he could hit, he could take walks, and he could steal bases. This is the Sizemore that we remember.
I’ve heard numerous fans calling for the Yankees to sign Sizemore off the scrap heap. Amongst these fans, there’s an idea that after three years of baseball damnation, the outfielder could be ready to finally return to his former self. To be fair, he’s only 30 years old, and he was still receiving major league offers as of 2012. Maybe he could be that diamond in the rough the Yankees are searching for.
At the beginning of 2009, Sizemore injured his left groin and left elbow in Spring Training. Throughout that season, Sizemore regressed to a .248/.343/.445 triple slash, and by the time the Indians were knocked out of a potential playoffs spot, he decided to end his season early. After undergoing surgery to repair his elbow and a sports hernia, from his grown injury, Sizemore barely played a month of the 2010 season before he had to go under the knife for microfracture surgery in his left knee. His next appearances would be in 2011, where he made it until May before hitting the disabled list with bruising in his right knee. After his DL stint, he again injured that same knee in July, followed by necessary surgery for another hernia. Sizemore re-signed with the Indians in 2012, but this time he didn’t make it to opening day before needing season-ending back surgery. At the beginning of this off season, the outfielder again needed surgery, microfracture surgery on his right knee.
The amount and timing of these injuries is almost comical, if it wasn’t so serious. When healthy, Sizemore was one of the best outfielders in the game, but his gritty style of play caught up to him at the age of 26. At 30 years old, it’s hard to image that his body will be much easier on him. Any team that signs him is taking an obvious risk, and a betting man would put his money on another injury before major league playing time.
If the Yankees wanted to take such a risk, Sizemore would be a great fit if he could ever get healthy. He’s left handed with power, he takes walks, and when his knees are working, he’s a great fielder. Just reading his injury history should tell you how remote the chances are of him staying healthy are. Even if it happens, he hasn’t played regularly since 2009, and who knows if the three years lost have affected him and his talent.
Sizemore has stated that he won’t sign a contract until his knee is fully healed, so perhaps the Yankees will be in need of a left handed outfielder at that point. Even if this is the case, the only way this looks to work for the organization is on a cheap minor league deal. But the team has plenty of outfield prospects in their minor league system, and Sizemore’s chances are so slim, it’s likely not worth any contract.