From 2005 to 2008, Grady Sizemore was one of the best young hitters in the game. Over that four season stretch he put up impressive numbers, topping out with a .290 average and a league-leading 53 doubles in 2006, 101 walks in 2007, and 33 homers and 38 steals in 2008. In his rookie year of 2005, the outfielder put up a .289/22/81 stat line. All very exciting numbers.
In 2009, Sizemore’s decline became apparent as injuries began to take their toll. Late in the season – after struggling through much of it – he elected to have surgery on his nagging left elbow which had sapped his power and ruined his year. A week after his elbow was repaired, Sizemore had another surgery to fix a hernia which was brought on by a groin injury, which also killed his season.
The worst had yet to come for the Indians centerfielder at that point as in 2010 he’d play in just 33 games, cutting his year short after undergoing microfracture surgery on his left knee.
It appears that Cleveland is now trying to gauge interest on the face of their tattered franchise, one that has won fewer than 70 games in back-to-back seasons. However, would it make sense for the Indians to deal their star while his trade value is at it’s lowest point? There are two layers to that.
On one hand, they may want to recoup some younger players if they believe Sizemore’s best days are in the past.
On the other hand, it might make more sense to wait it out and see what he can offer them for the 2011 season and either keep him around for the future or look for a better deal at the trade deadline.
If they decide to pursue the trade, would – or should – the Phillies show interest for another left-handed bat?
Sizemore is owed $7.5 million in 2011 and has a 2012 club option for $8.5 million that becomes a player option should he be traded. The contract is very friendly, but that really isn’t the issue here. It’s clearly the health of his surgically-repaired knee.
According to Anthony Castrovince, the Indians MLB.com beat writer, Sizemore is progressing well and is on schedule to return to lineup for opening day. As we all know, setbacks can occur, especially with such a delicate surgery. It’s still positive news considering he had the procedure less than six months ago.
As for his left-handedness, it’s a long-shot that the Phillies would want to add yet another to their order. His .230 career split against lefty pitching is surely a problem, but with a drought of righty hitters available for the position the Phillies would need to fill, perhaps adding a proven lefty hitter that was once at the top of position would work out just the same. Again, it’s not likely, but Sizemore has the talent to make up for the deficiency against the lefty-lefty matchup.
If Ruben Amaro doesn’t mind yet another lefty, a Sizemore addition could enable a Jimmy Rollins move to fifth or sixth in the order. Sizemore is a proven leadoff guy, evident in his 3,181 plate appearances at the top of the lineup and his 134 career stolen bases. If Rollins bats in an RBI-producing position, would that make up for the right-handed inadequacies this team would have without Jayson Werth? Absolutely not. But it would be a start.
It’s nearly impossible to say what the Phillies would have to part with to acquire Sizemore. You would have to believe that if he were truly available Ruben Amaro and his boys would be doing their homework on the three-time all star.
CHANCES: Sizemore’s availability is in question because there of the aforementioned injuries, etc. The Phillies will question whether or not another left-handed batter is the right move. If the Indians are listening, Ruben Amaro should at the very least give a call. The Phillies have done well with the Indians before and perhaps they can steal another franchise staple.
I give this two Ruben Heads out of 10 on the trade possibility scale.