The Pros and Cons of Grady Sizemore

Is Sizemore worth the risk?

Despite their reportedly limited budget, the Mets will not be completely inactive in the free agent market this offseason.  Whether or not they re-sign Jose Reyes, the Mets will have needs to fill.  And while it seems they don’t have the kind of money to be competitive in the Albert Pujols/Prince Fielder sweepstakes, there are bargains to be had.  As with most bargains, however, caveat emptor applies.

Once such bargain is Grady Sizemore.  The 2-time Gold Glove winner became a free agent after the Indians declined his $9MM option for 2012.  Sizemore is beloved in Cleveland, and has been one of the game’s best all-around outfielders since his first full season in 2005.  His 162 game averages are 39 2B, 25 HR, 83 RBI, 24 SB, and an .830 OPS.  And, he’s only 29 years old.  So why did Cleveland decline his option?

Over the past three years, he’s lost 276 games to injury, and has undergone 5 surgeries.

Sizemore, who made $7.7MM last year, played in only 71 games for the Indians.  As a result, he can be had at a bargain price, and if he stays healthy, he will produce on the baseball field.  Wait…that last sentence sounds familiar.  Oh right, I think I read that about Moises Alou, Chris Young, Pedro Martinez, J.J. Putz, Gary Sheffield, and other recent Mets acquisitions.  Do the Mets really need to take another chance on yet another broken down ballplayer?

While in past years, the chances they took were based on poor decision making, this year, they may not have a choice, given their financial situation.  A healthy Sizemore could upgrade their defense in center field, or even right field, if the Mets lose faith in Lucas Duda, and fill the spot at the top of the order if Reyes leaves.

The Mets have an existing option for both of those roles: Angel Pagan.  After an encouraging 2010, Pagan had a rough year all around, highlighted by mental mistakes in the field and on the bases.  But despite some nagging injuries, he has given the Mets over 1,100 plate appearances over the past two seasons.  He will likely win approximately $5MM in arbitration this year, should the Mets choose to grant it.

The general feeling is any current outfield prospect (i.e. Kirk Niewenhuis) in the organization will not be ready for prime time when Spring Training rolls around.  And there are other free agent options, such as Cody Ross and Nate McLouth, but neither of them have the production potential of Sizemore.

If it doesn’t break the bank, it’s worth signing Sizemore – he has enough upside to justify the risk.  In addition, the Mets probably won’t have to pay much more for him than they would pay Pagan.  But they’d better have a backup plan in place in case the risk doesn’t result in reward.


Paul is a freelance writer, blogger, and broadcast technology professional residing in Denver. A New Jersey native, he is a long-suffering Mets fan, a recently-happy Giants fan, and bewildered Islanders fan. He's also a fair-weather Avalanche and Rockies supporter. In his spare time, he enjoys the three Gs: Golf, Guitars, and Games.
  1. Tommy2cat November 3, 2011 at 3:42 pm
    Paul – Great post. Well written, brief and logical.

    Here’s the thing: If the Mets are going to go for someone like Sizemore, then they will need a healthy alternative to insert immediately if he cannot perform. Perhaps a rotation of Bay, Sizemore, Pagan and Duda, with Harris or Niewenhuis as the 5th outfielder.

    Bay should be platooned with a lefty (Niewenhuis) until he demonstrates that he can handle righty pitching. He hit .300 against lefties with an OPS over .800.

    That leaves Sizemore, Pagan and Duda to manage left-and-centerfields. All three saw time on the DL last year.

    I would prefer that we package a bona fide major leaguer (Murphy/Duda) with a blue-chip prospect or two for Baltimore’s Adam Jones – an intimidator who plays day-in and day-out. Someone should talk with Baltimore to determine what it would really take. Jones reminds me of a combination of Tommie Agee and Jermaine Dye.

    Within reasonable parameters, I’d be fine with Bay/Kirk in left, Jones in center and Pagan in right, with Harris as an if/of bench reserve.

    In my view, acquiring a player like Adam Jones is the equivalent to acquiring someone like Gary Carter or Keith Hernandez – I think he would have that kind of impact on the organization. He’s not as established as Gary and Keith were when we acquired them, but I think he brings some of the same important intangible to the table. He’s a superstar looking for a stage.

  2. gary s. November 3, 2011 at 4:49 pm
    I agree,I don’t want anybody else’s broken down players.We have enough of our own.Jones sounds good to me
  3. izzy November 3, 2011 at 5:29 pm
    Sure guys…Jones sounds great. Do you think he’s on the market? If he is can do you think we can help the Orioles fill their 12 biggest needs? They are all pitching. Don’t think we can help in that arena. But like the ideas. I wish you two were the GM, since Alderson hasn’t come up with one thought to help the team. His job is to help the Wilpons run a cheaper organization. Jones has upside and can help the team win. But Jones’ salary is rising as well. He’s not Alderson material.
  4. Tommy2cat November 3, 2011 at 10:49 pm
    In a nutshell…

    – re-sign Reyes
    – Trade Wright to Colorado for Wilin Rosarion & Drew Pomeranz
    – Trade Familia, Mejia, Parnell & Duda for Adam Jones (or something like that).
    – Insert Murphy at 3rd base
    – Let Turner, Havens, Valdespin & Tejada battle for 2nd base
    – Davis at first
    – Bay/Niewenhuis in left
    – Pagan in right
    2012-2013 Mets

    Santana, Harvey, Pomeranz, Wheeler & Dickey

    Bench: Thole/Rosario, Harris, Tejada, Bay/Kirk, Turner/Havens

    Works for me – just requires two trades. As for trading DW, who would you rather have up in the clutch, Murphy or Wright?

  5. Tommy2cat November 3, 2011 at 10:51 pm
    Daniel Murphy is not a platoon player. He’s an everyday player & the hardest working SOB in the NY Met organization.
  6. gary s. November 4, 2011 at 12:10 am
    Murphy is the guy i would try to move for a centerfielder.He hit .320 and has more trade value than wright coming off an injury prone year with so so numbers.Wright’s defense is so so, but Murphy has proved he can’t play any position at the major league level and has no baseball instincts.He’s a flawed player who comes with a cheap contract and maybe packaged with duda and a picher could get back an Adam Jones type player.Just my two cents on the topic
  7. Timo November 4, 2011 at 9:56 am
    Tommy2Cat…you really have big dreams. You sound like a Yankee fan. I know you are a true Mets fan but in regards are trading players. The Orioles WILL NEVER trade Adam Jones. The only way this trade gets made is in Playstation. I agree with Gary S in trading D. Murphy, his stock is high. We could actually get something useful back for our minor league system and he really doesn’t have a place to play. Also, can you remember our outfield in the 2000 World Series? Those guys had over their heads seasons and now where are they? Pagan…how did he do 2 years ago? And now how’s he doing? Reyes is NOT coming back. Sandy is moving on because Reyes’ price tag will be too much. Too many contending teams can use a shortstop. With that said, Wright is going now where until the Trade deadline (unless Sandy gets a Godfather offer – offer he can’t refuse – which will not happen). We are stuck with Bay as well. So your lineup for 2012 looks like:
    Sizemore – CF
    Thole- C
    Wright – 3rd
    Davis – 1st
    Bay – LF
    Duda – RF
    Turner – 2nd
    Tejada – SS
    Starting Pitcher

    *Turner/Tejada/Thole are inter-changeable.

    Starting Pitching:
    Santana, RAD, Niese, Gee, minor league or cheap free agent pitcher

    Joe Nathan

    Cheap free agents and minor league players.

    The Mets will play Bay, Wright, and Davis FULL time. No lefty/righty matchup crap. If Wright and Bay do well, then we trade them at the deadline (like K-Rod and Beltran this year).

    OUR BIG FREE AGENT signings this year will be Sizemore and Nathan.

    Pagan and Pelfrey WILL NOT be resigned (actually will be non-tendered.)

    My 2 cents!

  8. JVogt November 4, 2011 at 1:02 pm
    I agree with Timo. Let’s be realistic; we are not getting Adam Jones, since Baltimore would need some great, cheap ptiching in return, and in abundance, which we do not have. We are particularly lacking in the MLB-ready types.

    Im really all for stockpilling prospects and letting the in house options play, with some interesting veteran stop gaps. Sizemore and Nathan fit that bill, as would (less exciting) options like Cody Ross or Ryan Ludwick.

    What bothers me most about Reyes leaving is that he was an exciting player who was fun to watch. As a baseball fan, I loved to watch him play. Next year will be a tough year to watch, so might as well give as many in house guys a chance to prove themselves, either as future options or trading pieces for our next compeitive team.

    If we are not playing well, trade Wright and Santana at the deadline, build for the next team; this group had there chance, isnt leading us anywhere.

  9. Joe November 4, 2011 at 3:21 pm
    No more injury prone players, please. My philosophy is getting rid of trouble, not inviting more. We got rid of two losers. Another mental case, Pelfrey, should go. He gives you innings? Oh please. The Yanks got innings out of two pitchers on the cheap. The Mets can as well, especially given realistic results in ’12. Let’s at least make things a tad less painful.

    Pagan is another one. But, there, it is stupid to just get another headache. The price sounds right, but for the Mets, is it? Again, get someone who is decent. Pagan is okay there, though it’s okay if you get rid of him too.

    The Mets have salary drains at a few positions and hopefully will be able to get to the playoffs when their contracts are up so that the money can be used more wisely. Talking to you Mr. Bay and Wright.

    Someone talked about trading Santana. Who would pick up THAT contract given his health issues the last few years? I’m like a teenage girl texting seeing the cost numbers of these three players. OMG. Bay is the lesson. Don’t just take on a big or dubious contract to do something. And, personality is something, sure. But, if the guy is just going to be hurt all the time, he won’t be around.

    Finally, I really don’t trust Murphy at 2nd, which seems to be the expected thing if Reyes leaves. Another year of him training for a position. Please no. The guy belongs in a corner infield position. I’ll believe Davis is okay when I see it. Don’t know how he will work as a permanent bench player. But, not 2nd base. Might be trade bait — better that than him getting hurt again at 2nd.

  10. Paul Festa November 5, 2011 at 8:12 pm
    Love the comments, guys. Great discussion!
  11. Josh November 6, 2011 at 3:58 am
    well Zack wheeler cant play in the MLB next year , give him time