The Pros and Cons of Grady Sizemore
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.
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.
– 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
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?
Sizemore – CF
Wright – 3rd
Davis – 1st
Bay – LF
Duda – RF
Turner – 2nd
Tejada – SS
*Turner/Tejada/Thole are inter-changeable.
Santana, RAD, Niese, Gee, minor league or cheap free agent pitcher
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!
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.
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.