Is Sizemore a Fit for Boston?

Sizemore cropThe natural answer to that question would be, “If healthy, Sizemore is a great fit on any club.” Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald speculates that Grady Sizemore might be worth a look for the Sox on a one or two year deal that included a low base salary plus incentives and maybe a player option. He compares a possible Sizemore deal to what the Sox did with Adrian Beltre in 2010.

Acquiring Sizemore would mean that he’d have to shift to right field, a position he has yet to play in the big leagues. Then again, given his athleticism, the transition shouldn’t be too much of an issue. Sizemore’s agent has stated that his client would indeed consider moving to a corner given the right situation. Given his recent knee problems, I think that’s a good idea.

Sizemore is coming off of an injury plagued season and that’s an understatement. He played in only 71 games with 295 plate appearances and not only had to deal with issues recovering from microfracture surgery on his left knee, but ended up having surgery on his right knee in October. He also had surgery on a sports hernia during the season. Yikes.

In 2008, Sizemore stole 38 bases. In his last 104 games, he has stolen a grand total of four bases, all of which came in 2010. At 29 years of age, he may not be completely done as a base stealer, but chances are he’ll never come close to his pre-2009 totals.

So if Grady Sizemore isn’t a base stealer, then he’s no longer a 30/30 threat. However, as long as the Sox don’t view him as such, they (as do all other teams) have an opportunity to tap into one particular aspect of his game and let it thrive: His power.

Last season, even with injuries to both knees (as well as surgery for a sports hernia), Sizemore blasted 10 home runs in 268 at-bats. That’s a HR/AB rate of 26.8, which would translate to about 20.5 home runs in 550 at-bats. That’s not an AB/HR rate of a slugger, but again consider that he played the season in almost constant pain or discomfort. Sizemore’s career best AB/HR rate came in 2008 (19.2 AB/HR) when he hit 33 home runs in 634 at-bats. He has also displayed very good plate discipline in the past, a trait that hasn’t shown up in the small sample sizes of his last two seasons, but is something the he presumably still has.

Perhaps Sizemore’s transition from power/speed threat to pure slugger has already begun. He has seen a drastic rise in this strikeout rate over the past two seasons, but that too can be viewed softly due to a small sample size and the injury issues. To me, it seemed like Sizemore was trying too hard to hit for power last season, which resulted in a career high fly-ball plus infield fly-ball rate of 57.7 percent.

If the Sox can convince Sizemore to sign and play right, convince him that he doesn’t need to steal bases anymore, just hit some bombs and take plenty of walks, they might have a bargain on their hands. Then again, their not the only team thinking this way I’m sure.

Of course, all of this means nothing if Sizemore can’t stay healthy enough to profile like the hitter he was in 2009; 12 percent walk rate, 18 percent strikeout rate and a .284 True Average (TAv). That season,  he put up a .197 ISO and .343 OBP despite battling an elbow injury.

At least the Sox would have depth should they sign Sizemore only to see him fall to injury once more. Both Josh Reddick and Ryan Kalish have the ability to perform at above replacement level, if not well above.

The only other problem would be that Sizemore would be yet another left-handed bat in a lineup potentially full of them: Ellsbury, A-Gonz, Papi (should he re-sign) and Crawford.

Given the injury risk and left-handed bat (he’s a career .227/.315/.378 hitter against lefties), I’m not sure Sizemore is really a great fit for the Red Sox. Then again, there aren’t too many right-handed hitting free agents out there that are a great fit either (Josh Willingham and Michael Cuddyer would be a defensive liability in right). I see Sizemore as more of an alternative rather than a real need. Once the Sox figure out what they’re doing in the rotation and bullpen, then they can asses whether or not to pursue Sizemore (if he’s still available by then).

Categories: Boston Red Sox Grady Sizemore Josh Reddick Josh Willingham Michael Cuddyer Ryan Kalish

Charlie first started writing about baseball back in 2008 when he opened Fantasy Baseball 365. Since graduating college with a degree in English, he has spent time coaching baseball as well as working in several minor league front offices. He also writes for The Outside Corner and contributes to Project Prospect and ESPN's Sweet Spot. Writer from August 3, 2010 - May 6, 2012

9 Responses to “Is Sizemore a Fit for Boston?” Subscribe

  1. Gerry November 1, 2011 at 6:44 PM #

    CC, Ells, Sizemore … a dream outfield, but only if Sizemore is himself. Otherwise we block Reddick and/or Kalish who promise to have good gloves, arms, speed and bats, 20+HR and 30 more XBH bats. Reddick has spent half a season learning the quirks of RF and was mentored by zen-master JD Drew as his possible replacement, and who hits lefties very well. Why block him? Why block Trot Kalish who could be even better, or J C Linares, a slugging RHB with good glove. All are younger, though Grady's still in his prime. Always dreamed of Sizemore in the Sox OF. It's risky. It could cost us good prospects with no guarantees Grady will be as good as them. I still like the kids, but would rather try an incentivized deal with Sizemore than a contract with Cuddyer, Willingham, Ross, etc

    • Gerry November 1, 2011 at 8:42 PM #

      Btw, Half the lefties you mentioned, Gonzo and Papi feasted on lefty pitching. Ellsbury and Reddick had favorable splits. CC remains an unknown. The Sox mashed lefties in 2011. PD, Youk, Scoot, Salty, Lavarnway, Aviles, Lowrie, Tek all hit lefties well. In reality, then, only CC and Sizemore would concievably struggle vs. Lefties, which IMO Is no reason for swooning over a RHB over solid defense in RF. Imagine, Sizemore is available to the Sox and Ells is a 30/30 guy in CF. Things change.

      • Charlie Saponara November 2, 2011 at 11:41 AM #

        Keep in mind that Papi struggled nightly against LHP for years up until the 2011 season and there is no guarantee, based on his history, that he'll be that good against them again in 2012.

  2. cole November 2, 2011 at 1:41 AM #

    why? why keep going after big name free agents? Lets be real about this we got two young guys that can fill in ( Ok, maybe not Sizemore in his prime kinda deal, but they can do the job) And, if either of the kids do well, we can keep one and trade the other. But seriously do we need to continue to deplete our farm system for injury prone free agents that just end up losing us money and giving us grief, what have we learned from 2011= We Are Not The Yankees! we can't just go throwing money around at whatever flashy name suits our fancy, (except for maybe pitching, but even there big names haven't helped- do I need to mention "he who shall not be named") Seriously I know it fun to speculate, but I'd much rather see the Sox focus on their farm system, and small tweaks to an already stacked team. We can't spend money like the Yankees, and frankly we're not that good at it either.

  3. Tim November 2, 2011 at 2:15 AM #

    I don't get the "deplete the farm system" concern as Sizemore is a free agent with no compensation owed to Cleveland if he is signed based due to poor production caused by injuries. If the Sox lost Ortiz, I like signing Sizemore to a one-year deal if such a deal will get him (as the article mentions, Sizemore will have a lot of suitors and one may offer him a multi-year deal) and use him as a DH against RH pitching and part-time outfielder (more than part-time if he remains healthy).

  4. TomF87 November 2, 2011 at 2:24 PM #

    As much as I like Sizemore, it's a bad idea given recent injusries. Let Reddick/Kalish battle for it.

    • Gerry November 6, 2011 at 3:11 AM #

      That's what is meant by losing prospects or depleting the farm for Sizemore. Reddick, Kalish, Linares will be 24-26 in 2012. Signing Grady or Willi or whomever just blocks the kids who are ready for Fenway, for as many as 2-3 years. It's a self-defeating pattern as the Sox really don't need more hitting from FA's. They are the best hitting team in the league and will be better in 2012 with healthy PD, Youk,'Gonzo, Scoot, Lowrie plus the return of CC and the launch of Lava. Reddick has shown be can hit, and is in fact the best defensive option due to his experience in Fenway RF. He is home grown and will cost $450K. Why pay millions more and maybe not get more. Spend the $$ on a true need … Pitching.

  5. JonathanN November 3, 2011 at 7:15 AM #

    You are right. I totally agree with you, TomF87.


  1. Answering Nick’s Mail Bag Part 3 | Fire Brand of the American League - November 4, 2011

    [...] a pretty good question.  As Charlie mentioned the other day, Sizemore was a pretty tremendous player from 2005-2008 before he got hurt; registering 27.4 fWAR [...]