Ladies of Cleveland… You can relax.
Today, the Indians reached an agreement with outfielder Grady Sizemore to return to Cleveland for the 2012 season. The deal is reported to be for one year with a base salary of $5 million dollars. There are also incentives in place that could allow Sizemore to make an additional $4 million dollars bringing the potential overall value of the contract to $9 million. Coincidentally, that’s the exact same amount as the team option the Indians decided to pass on following the World Series.
The move is a bit puzzling. For starters, it doesn’t really address the Indians primary concern, a right-handed, power hitting outfielder. Sizemore is just another left-handed hitter in an already crowded outfield full of left handed bats. In addition, Sizemore has also had 3 sub par years that have been marred by injuries. His in ability to stay healthy has to be a concern moving forward seeing as this investment signifies that the Indians view Sizemore as a key piece heading into 2012.
It’s also possible that the Indians weren’t quite ready to part ways with Grady Sizemore. He’s been such a key piece to their past success and has been such a marketable player that they may be unwilling and unable to see the truth in where Sizemore’s career is and where it’s headed. He’s “their guy.” From that perspective, it makes sense that the Indians would be willing to over pay for Sizemore’s services and if that’s the case… they’re stupid… for lack of a better term.
For Sizemore the contract makes perfect sense. While he was reportedly hearing offers from several other teams, I find it hard to believe any of them were offering the potential to make $9 million dollars in 2012. It’s completely possible that Sizemore parlayed those rumors to reach this agreement with the Tribe. Also, based on the past three seasons Sizemore needs to reestablish himself as an everyday impact player. Perhaps he does feel that Cleveland gives him the best chance of doing that given his familiarity with the training staff and their knowledge of his injury history.
Fans are already protesting the move, and with good reason. As I said previously, the resigning of Grady Sizemore doesn’t necessarily make the Indians better right now. Adding a Michael Cuddyer or Jason Kubel to the outfield makes them better. There’s still plenty of time for them to make a deal for a right-handed power hitter, but with the crowded outfield and $9 million potentially invested in Sizemore it’s hard to see how and where they will alot more money for another key piece to the puzzle.
Then again, there is also the chance that the Indians resigned Sizemore in order to use him as a trade chip. If he gets off to a hot start, the Indians could flip him for prospects or another impact player. We’ve seen them do this before with other veteran players such as Russell Branyan (twice), Orlando Cabrera, Mark DeRossa, etc. From that stand point, it may not be that bad of a move. It is a gamble because part of that involves Sizemore returning to form, but if it comes to fruition, it could pay off in the end.
Me personally… I like the move. Please note, I said like… not love. I like the fact that it’s only $5 million guaranteed. I like that fact that Sizemore is still only 29 years old. I like the fact that Sizemore is committed and motivated to getting back to his old self. This is the first time in two years in which Sizemore can complete a full, normal offseason conditioning program. The bottom line is this… If Sizemore returns to form and has the type of year he’s capable of having, this is a steal. If not, the Indians cut ties with him and their only out about $5 million. It’s not crippling.
I’ll also like the deal a lot more or less based on what other moves the Indians either make or don’t make over the next coming days and weeks.
So what say you Tribe fans? Where do you come out on the resigning of Grady Sizemore?