The Mets have made a string of bad signings when it comes to aging, injured, unproductive or otherwise scarred players. Moises Alou, Julio Franco, Oliver Perez, Luis Castillo and Guillermo Mota. We could spend all day adding to the list.
It isn’t a great free-agent market, but there’s a name on the list worth rolling the dice with despite his recent injury history. The Cleveland Indians failed to exercise their option on outfielder Grady Sizemore, who, at 29, was once one of the game’s blossoming stars, but only played in 210 games the past three seasons.
A gamble, no question, but a thought keeps running through my head: What if he pans out?
Burdened by knee and abdominal injuries the past three years, Sizemore hit just .234 last summer, but prior to that was a three time All-Star and two-time Gold Glove Award winner. That’s a substantial resume; certainly better than any other Mets’ outfielder.
He could be signed to a short-term deal loaded with incentives, but there’s a big upside if he bounces back to close to his previous form.
“He’s open to anything,” Sizemore’s agent, Joe Urbon, told The Cleveland Plain Dealer. “He’s not limiting his choices at all. … He wants to have an opportunity that will allow him to show he’s still the elite player he’s been. In a perfect world, he’d love to play center field.”
I’d rather gamble on Sizemore bouncing back than Angel Pagan becoming a star, or even an average player for that matter. Pagan, who is arbitration eligible, could make close to $5 million. Conversely, had the Indians picked up Sizemore’s option they would have been on the hook for $8.5 million. So, in essence we’re talking about roughly a $3.5 gamble, which in today’s market isn’t significant, even for the frugal Mets.
Sizemore underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee four months ago to treat a bone bruise. Urbon said Sizemore’s recovery should be in a month, giving him enough time for rehab prior to spring training.
The Boston Herald reported the Red Sox might be interested if Sizemore is willing to move to right, which his agent said he would. The Washington Post reported the Nationals having interest. That will be just the beginning.
When healthy, Sizemore is a combination of power and speed, and during his eight-year career averaged 24 steals, 25 homers and 83 RBI. Considering his limited playing time the past three seasons, that’s impressive production.
The Mets are in a rebuilding mode and will undoubtedly not have Jose Reyes. They need to take some risks, and Sizemore is one worth taking.