Saturday, April 2, 2016

One-Year Wonder Pt. 24: Grady Sizemore

Every once in awhile, the Red Sox pick up a veteran player for a year, or just the stretch run that was a star at one point that I become fascinated with. It's a player that is basically only a role player at that point in their career, but may show flashes of their old brilliance. It's so unusual to see them as a member of the Red Sox, that I try to find as many of their cards as possible. This series will be about some of those players.
There was a period of time when Grady Sizemore was one of the best all-around players in the game.  He could hit for power, steal bases, hit for a decent average, and was a great defensive center-fielder.  He was a three-time All Star, finished in the Top 10 in MVP balloting, won two Gold Gloves and a Silver Slugger, and was a member of the 30/30 club.  Unfortunately, a variety of injuries did him in and his career looked to be over after the 2011 season.

Sizemore did not even play in the majors in 2012 or 2013, and Cleveland did not resign him after he was granted free agency after the 2012 season.  Suddenly there was talk that he was finally healthy and ready to return to the Majors in 2014.  He found a contract with the Red Sox that was a low-risk, high-reward deal with a lot of incentives.  He came into Spring Training with low expectations, but began tearing the cover off the ball.  Sizemore forced his way into the conversation for the Major League team even though they already had Daniel Nava, Shane Victorino, Mike Carp, Jonny Gomes, and Jackie Bradley Jr. for the outfield.  Sizemore was so impressive in the Spring that Boston decided to name him their starting center fielder for opening day.

On Opening Day 2014, Sizemore did indeed start in center field, and he even managed to collect two hits, including his first home run since 2011.  After the first ten games of the season, he was hitting .343/.395/.571 with two home runs, four RBIs, and a stolen base.  Unfortunately, that was the high point for Sizemore and his numbers declined dramatically after that.  

Sizemore would play in 52 games for the Red Sox in 2014 and only hit .216/.288/.324 with just the two home runs and 15 RBIs.  The experiment ended in mid-June.  Boston released him and ended up going with Mookie Betts, a decision that worked out well for Boston.  Sizemore found a job fairly quickly though.  He signed with the Phillies and his numbers improved somewhat.  His days of being a great player are over, but Sizemore has proven to be a useful player in his time since leaving Boston.

1 comment:

  1. Unreal what happened to this guy.His rookie cards used to fetch top dollar.