The Obligatory Grady Sizemore Post

Open Thread: Twentyeleven
Fan Confidence Poll: January 3rd, 2011

It’s amazing how much can change in two years. Grady Sizemore was a legitimate MVP candidate as recently as 2008, just as he was in 2007 and 2006, but now the Indians would “love to trade” him according to Nick Cafardo. That’s what injuries can do to a player’s value.

Blame that grand slam on Jorge, amirite? (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Sizemore, still just 28 these days, was hampered by synovitis in his left (throwing) elbow all season long back in 2009, and was eventually shut down so he could have surgery to repair the condition in early September. The elbow gave him no trouble in 2010, but his left knee did. Sizemore originally injured the joint sliding into a base in April, and he then re-injured it on another slide against the Orioles on May 16th. He wouldn’t play again the rest of the season. Sizemore had microfracture surgery in early June, and the six-to-nine month recovery period has him in line to start Spring Training on time.

Over those last two injury plagued seasons, Sizemore hit just .239/.328/.410 (.324 wOBA) with a -6.0 UZR/150 (SSS), a far cry from his 2006 through 2008 peak. During those three years he hit .279/.380/.499 (.382 wOBA) with a total of 85 homers and 93 steals, adding on a studly +7.5 UZR/150 in center. Sizemore’s 20.1 fWAR during those years was the fourth most in baseball, behind only Albert Pujols, Chase Utley, and David Wright. He was a bonafide superstar, one of the game’s absolute best, and he was still in his mid-20’s.

For the sake of completeness, we have to acknowledge Sizemore’s warts as well. He’s just a career .311 wOBA hitter against lefties (.386 vs. RHP), and even during that absurd three-year peak he only had a .333 wOBA vs. southpaws. The need for a right-handed hitting reserve outfielder would only increase. Sizemore can also strikeout with the best of them, going down on strike three in 22.4% of his career at-bats. Again, looking at just the three year peak, he still had a 22.8% strikeout rate. And then there’s all those recent injuries, of course.

Two hands, Sizemore. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

So, if Sizemore was that good when he was healthy, why would the Tribe want to move him? First thing that jumped to my mind was cost, but Sizemore isn’t that expensive. He’s their second highest paid player (behind Travis Hafner, yikes), but is still owed just $7.5M in 2011 before a $9M club option ($500,000 buyout) for 2012 comes into play. For a rebuilding team, that might be too much. Another possibility is that they aren’t confident in his health going forward, and want to move him before his value drops even more. A third possibility could simply be that he’s one of their most tradeable commodities, and they feel an infusion of young players would be better going forward than even a healthy Sizemore.

The Yankees come into play for no other reason than pure speculation, nothing has connected them to Sizemore this offseason at all. In fact, they passed on pursuing Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth because they’re comfortable with their outfield alignment. Hard to blame them, really. A trade for Sizemore would be similar to the Nick Swisher trade in that the Yanks would be buying low, but the major difference is why they’d be buying low. Swish was healthy with the White Sox, he was just unlucky when it came to balls in play. Sizemore’s stock is down because he’s hurt, it’s not like we’re just waiting for a BABIP rebound here. That’s quite a problem, because it’s a lot tougher to predict performance going forward when a guy has 140 plate appearances in the last 15 months.

The Indians are apparently searching for pitching, pitching, and more pitching these days, something the Yankees can spare at the minor league level. Cleveland’s outfield is pretty full (nine outfielders on their 40-man roster, including Grady), so I’m not sure if they’d even want Gardner in a potential trade. They do need a third baseman, I know that much, so maybe Brandon Laird has some value to them. They’re not going to give Sizemore away just because, he’s far too young and talent to write-off. New-ish GM Chris Antonetti will market Grady as the guy he was from ’06-’08, not the injured mess he’s been since. Whether or not a deal can be struck is not for me to worry about, that’s up to the guys making the big bucks.

Without being privy to his medical information, I’m inclined to say “pass” on Sizemore, which is tough to say because I love the guy as a player. He’s the very definition of a five-tool talent when healthy, a lefty power bat that would fit right in with Yankee Stadium and be an upgrade over all three regular outfielders. The Yanks have been preaching patience all offseason, and this is where they should exercise it. Let Sizemore prove he’s healthy and productive on Cleveland’s dime, then act accordingly if there’s a fit. The potential for zero or minimal return is just too high for me right now, especially when you consider how much it’ll probably take to acquire him. I suspect we’ll see the Indians hold on to their once franchise player through the offseason, hope he stays healthy and performs like he’s capable of in the first few months of 2011, then look to trade him at the deadline when his stock is higher. That’s when the Yankee should kick the tires, no sense in assuming the risk now.

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Open Thread: Twentyeleven
Fan Confidence Poll: January 3rd, 2011
  • RalphieD

    brackman warren and laird…who says no?

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      The tea cup lobbyists.

      • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

        Just to be clear, that’s not some veiled political reference. You know: Grady Sizemore loves teacups. (Probably NSFW)

        • mbonzo

          The only lapse of judgment I see here is using a teacup… why not a pitcher or mug?

        • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

          Oh how I love this picture.

          I mean… what.

    • Matt

      I’d hope Cashman would say no. You’re going to trade away 2 young promising pitchers for an injury prone outfielder they don’t really need. Besides, no one comes back from that microfracture surgery that quickly. He’d be lucky to be healthy by the all star break if at all in 2011.

    • MattG

      I don’t think either team should say no to that. Brackman is the Yankees’ Edison Volquez, Sizemore the Indians’ Josh Hamilton, except Brackman doesn’t have the year of major league success yet (but by that measure, Sizemore hasn’t triumphantly returned to the majors yet, either).

      If anyone says no, it should be the Indians, because they don’t believe in Brackman.

    • pat

      Why are we paying that much?

  • Matt

    At this point, I’d only take Sizemore only as a salary dump in a trade that included Carmona.

    • FIPster Doofus

      Agreed. I was coming in to post the same thing.

    • Paul

      I agree, trade for both if the minor league package wasn’t too much

  • Gonzo

    Isn’t Lonnie Chisenhall their 3b of the future?

    • Jimmy

      I thought so also. I was also under the impression that Chisenhall was an elite prospect and would be ready by 2012. Why would they want Laird?

  • YankeesEVO

    I know we have a great OF already, but I would love to get Sizemore, when healthy the kid’s a stud and plays with a ton of heart

    • MikeD

      When healthy might be a think that only exists in the past for Sizemore.

      I’d only take him as a salary dump. I wouldn’t risk any prospects until he proves he’s healthy and can still produce.

    • http://danielslifka.wordpress.com Jerome S.

      He had the second highest heart index rating last year, just ahead of Francisco Cervelli and right behind Jonathon Papelbon.

      Impressive.

      NoOffense, I understand what you meant by heart. It’s just that some fans like players solely because of it.

    • BigApple

      i don’t want anyone on the roster that has the words “when healthy” associated with them.

  • ultimate913

    No need to kick the tires on him…yet. Maybe if he is performing well, the Yankees can set up a three way trade.

    Yankees send: pitching prospects + Laird + Swisher or Granderson
    Yankees receive: Sizemore + #2 starter from 3rd team

    Indians send: Sizemore
    Indians receive: pitching prospects + Laird

    3rd team sends: #2 starter
    3rd team receives: Swisher or Granderson(+ C prospect)

    I don’t know who the 3rd team could be though. Oh well, MTPS, anyways.

    • http://danielslifka.wordpress.com Jerome S.

      That would mean making Sizemore an everyday player, which negates the point of the trade in the first place. I’m assuming, of course, that he should come to NY only as a backup.

      • Tim

        He is a better player than any of the current Yankee outfielders. He wouldn’t be a back-up.

  • Jimmy McNulty

    Semirelated question, who has more trade value, Joba or Sizemore? I mean both lost a shitton of value due to injuries, etc. but one’s actually expensive. My idiot Tribe fan friend Matt flipped shit when I said that more teams would rather acquire Joba than Sizemore…I can’t see a strong argument for Grady.

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      Joba’s peripherals still suggest that he is an above average pitcher in some role or other. Sizemore hasn’t been healthy in over two seasons. Joba has more trade value.

      • Jimmy McNulty

        I would agree with that, now the other posters here would tell you I’m far from a homer…but I don’t think I’d trade Joba straight up for Sizemore (though if Cashman did I would hardly be upset), but if like another poster said if Sizemore was packaged as a salary dump with Carmona I’d definitely be game as long as the price isn’t too high.

        • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

          I wouldn’t trade Joba for Sizemore straight up at all. But then again, I have no qualms with saying that Joba should be under consideration for the starting rotation in 2011 if the Yanks aren’t planning on upgrading that via a trade.

          • Jimmy McNulty

            Well if they’re just going to let him sit in the bullpen, then I’d trade him for Grady just because I think Grady in the outfield has more value (even if it means Gardner or someone else rides the pine) than Joba in the pen. I know players can come back from injuries but two years with his style of play is quite a bit of time. Also, who’s to say that he comes back the same guy he was 2006-2008.

          • http://Yesnetwork.com gmrich

            I agree, I would rather see Joba in the rotation, he was good in 2009, better than AJ was.

  • Wayne

    The above trade suggestions are borderline insane. With his recent injury history (multiple injuries at that), you have to view Sizemore in the same light as a high-level prospect: that is, he may succeed at the major league level or he may fail miserably.

    The fact that he did it in the past (three seasons ago, now) means he’s as much of a sure thing as a Laird or Brackman. So, now way do you trade 3 prime prospects for the equivalent of 1 prime prospect with a multi-million dollar contract.

    There’s certainly no way I’d trade a healthy Swisher or Granderson for an injury-plaqued Sizemore who may NEVER again play anywhere near his former level.

    There are only 2 ways a Sizemore trade becomes a good gamble:

    1) A complete salary dump by Cleveland, where they take Laid, at most, for Sizemore. By the way, $8 million is a lot to a team like Cleveland; we’re spoiled here in NYC country: $8 million is still a lot to a small-to-mid market team that’s currently rebuilding.

    2) If Sizemore is included in a larger deal involving Carmona, then you include other prospects, like some of the ones named above. Maybe you even do a deal that moves Joba to Cleveland (along with some prospects) for Carmona and Sizemore.

    I’m not going to claim I know the exact parameters that would get a Carmona & Sizemore trade done because none of us really knows what players Cleveland truly values in our farm system. But I think a Carmona/Sizemore trade is at least worth inquiring about . . . as long as they give up next to nothing for Sizemore because you cannot go in to next season with the expectation that he’ll be one of your three starting outfields.

    You trade for him with the expectation he’ll be your fourth outfielder, sometimes DH, and emergency outfielder should any of our starters go down with injury or drastically underperform.

    • MattG

      You’re being way too cautious here. Grady Sizemore, injuries and contract considered, has more trade value in his left pinky than Gerald Laird has in his whole body.

      If the Yankees want Sizemore, they should be willing to part with a player with the same upside, and the same risk of return.

      • tomaconda

        Gerald Laird has no trade value for the Yankees because he is employed elsewhere.

  • Reggie C.

    IF .. and that’s a big IF … the Cleveland Indians think Sizemore is worth trading in return for a couple high ceiling prospects, then i’d definitely like to see Cashman wade in and make a deal.

    Of course, Sizemore would need to show he’s fully healthy from the injuries that’ve ruined his past 2 seasons. I’m all for upgrading a corner OF spot when the upgrade is in the form of a proven All-Star. In the new YS, Sizemore could put up home run totals that fans originally envisioned Granderson attaining – 30 +. Sizemore’s on base skills make him an interesting lead-off option too.

    Should a player of Sizemore’s proven caliber hit the trade block and when it won’t cost us Montero … i think Cashman almost has to roll the dice and offer a couple of the killa Bs + BG.

    • Wayne

      I can understand your desire to improve the Yankees, but a couple of killer Bs + BG for a guy who hit .240 the last two year, played less than 140 games the last two years, and hit a total of 18 HRs with less than 80 total RBIs? No way.

      Gambles like that can destroy a farm system FAST!

      You can’t even talk about a top prospect for a guy like Sizemore at this point. If he hits like he did the past 2 years, you’re talking about a one year rental of a below average player. That’s not worth the risk of even one killer B.

      Personally, the only way I’d trade for Sizemore is under scenario #2 that I wrote about (above): i.e., in a larger Carmona deal.

      Guys who have had two poor injury-plaqued seasons back-to-back rarely return to their old form. They far more frequently end up being bench players/reserves, and that’s not worth even one killer B.

      • MattG

        “Guys who have had two poor injury-plaqued seasons back-to-back rarely return to their old form.”

        This is undeniably true. I’ve been trying to think of someone. Eric Davis is the best example I can come up with, and while he probably had enough value to justify a Sizemore-sized contract, he only showed flashes of prior dominance.

        That said, a guy like Brackman, even with his recent success, is still most likely headed for Kyle Farnsworth’s career. The fact that he could be much more should make him a worthy trading partner for Grady Sizemore and the Indians.

    • Jimmy McNulty

      That’s way too much for Sizemore. Last year he slugged .289, he’s always had strike out problems. His on base skills are meaningless if his shoulder is still fucked to hell and back. He’s injured and expensive. The Indians would need to package him with an actual good player to receive anything worthwhile.

    • MikeD

      No way. I wouldn’t give a single B for Sizemore today. Too risky. Microfracture surgery = Bad!

    • http://Yesnetwork.com gmrich

      No way, no top prospects for someone who has missed almost 2 years.

  • RollingWave

    It doesn’t make too much sense on most level, still, it would be hilarious if you have both Sizemore and Granderson on the same team… before they’re even 30 year old and paid big money…

    I mean if you told any semi knowledgable fan 3 years ago that Grady Sizemore and Curtis Granderson would both be playing on the Yankees before they’re over 30 and the Yankees didn’t pay them massive contract or completly gut the farm for them, you’d be laughed out of the house.

    • http://Yesnetwork.com gmrich

      Why do you say that, Granderson sucks.

  • kosmo

    If any 2 careers are parallel it´s Granderson and Sizemore.Their overall numbers are very similar .
    They both strikeout a ton have decent pop and play good D but a healthy Sizemore is I think a better all around player.
    A proposed Carmona and Sizemore trade to NY would more than likely involve a 3rd team.
    Granderson would go to a 3rd team with Cleveland getting 2 prospects in return with NY throwing in a prospect or 2.I see something like Adams or Joseph and a pitching prospect sent from NY
    Obviously this is contingent on Sizemore being healthy come ST.

    • FIPster Doofus

      Trading Granderson? No thanks.

      • http://Yesnetwork.com gmrich

        I would trade Granderson, he sucks.

  • Mattchu12

    I’ve always like Sizemore, especially as a fit for Yankee Stadium. I’d be pretty eager to see if the Indians would want to talk about a potential Sizemore+Carmona deal, that’s the kind of trade that could easily pay off long term since both have the potential to shine.

    If Sizemore returns to form, you can move Gardner in a deal for a starting pitcher.

    Suddenly you have an outfield of Sizemore-Granderson-Swisher with lots of pop and some pretty damn good defense, and you could have a rotation of CC-Hughes-Burnett-Carmona plus whoever you acquire for in a deal for Gardner. It’s something worth looking into.

    • http://Yesnetwork.com gmrich

      No, i WOULD TRADE gRANDERSON, HE SUCKS, gARDNER HAS TOO MUCH VALUE,

  • AMSkollar

    So there is a chance of an outfield of Grady, Gardy, and Grandy?

    • jsbrendog (returns)

      ietc

    • CS Yankee

      The killer G’s behind the killer B’s

    • Mike HC

      haha

  • Baltimore Yank

    Why does this article even hint at trading Gardner. The Yanks need other type of players than home run hitters, or the homers will be all solos. (Duh!) Secondly, Gardner had 100 plus runs scored on under 500 ABs. He’s great. In terms of Sizemore, why trade a Granderson for a most likely injured player….Nope.

    • http://danielslifka.wordpress.com Jerome S.

      Small point: Nine solo homers is more than four two run shots. But yeah, I get it.

    • theyankeewarrior

      They probably wouldn’t.

      But the reason they might consider it probably has to do with the fact that Grady Sizemore is 2x the player Gardner is when both are reaching their potential.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      Gardner didn’t score 100 runs last year.

      • CS Yankee

        He did…

        but his speed was so great that they weren’t all counted.

        /fasterthanaspeedingbullet’d

  • YankeesPacificNW

    Sizemore has always been a thorn in the flesh, pesky, disruptive to the opposing team, stellar performer. He’s totally worth the gamble. But I don’t know about trading Joba. If Joba gets his pitching re-coached into a successful zone, it would be suicide to trade away his power and drive. Need to see what he looks like after spending time with a new coach. Too many pitcher mental cases last year, let’s see if a new coach can screw some heads back on the right way before devaluing the pitchers.

  • MattG

    These trade offers and dismissals are missing a framework for discussion. If the Yankees’ are to make an offer for Sizemore, it is because they have reviewed his medical information, and decided his past injury history, while it adds risk to the deal, is not going to derail his career.

    I liken this to when Texas acquired Josh Hamilton. Hamilton was coming off a half-season in which he displayed tremendous talent, but this was preceded by years and years of risk indicators.

    Sizemore does not have that half-year, but by the same token, his injuries pose a different sort of risk. I wouldn’t trade anyone already proven at the major league level for Sizemore, but someone with a world of talent, and a lot of risk for realizing that talent, is appropriate to me. I’m thinking Andrew Brackman is the perfect sort of gamble.

    However, there is Sizemore’s contract to consider. He’s owed $16.5m, so I would like to see Cleveland kick in salary, or exchange a major league arm for a C+ prospect or two.

    • http://danielslifka.wordpress.com Jerome S.

      Hamilton is a better player than Sizemore; Hamilton missed a ton of games this year and was MVP, Sizemore would need to play a whole season to accumulate similar value.

      • MattG
        • http://danielslifka.wordpress.com Jerome S.

          Not really. Look at the injured seasons; Hamilton injured > Sizemore injured. In addition, Hamilton’s best season > Sizemore’s best season. Of course, who knows how Sizemore could be doing now n his prime, but eh.

  • CS Yankee

    Sizemore has always reminded me of Freddie Lynn…incredible athlete, but fragile as your grandma’s crystal.

    Not sure why/where he would fit in NY, but a package that included Carmona (ala the Lowell kick-in) does make sense as someone posted earlier.

    I would offer Joba/Brackman/Liard for Carmona/Sizemore/cash and walkaway feeling good trade, or no trade.

    • http://twitter.com/cephster Ross in Jersey

      That could very well end up essentially being Joba and Brackman for Carmona. I’m no Joba defender but I think that’s giving up too much. I’d give up one or the other, not both.

  • GermanYankee

    Sizemore? nah. Shin-Soo Choo? YES. I guess it would take at least 2 B’s + way more to trade for Choo, so I’d probably say no.

    • http://danielslifka.wordpress.com Jerome S.

      when will Choo be a free agent? ‘Cuz I don’t want to trade the farm for him.

    • Wil Nieves #1 Fan

      I’ve never been a big Sizemore fan…but I would happily welcome Choo. I think he hits free agency in 2014? Please someone correct me if I’m wrong.

  • tomaconda

    I would take Sizemore only for the chance that I get to sit next to his playmate girlfriend at a game or two.

  • BigApple

    we need pitching, not hitting…so this is silly unless it includes, Carmona, which other posters have hinted at.

  • BigApple

    that’s like saying…”when AJ Burnett doesn’t suck, he’s a pretty good pitcher…”

  • Granderslam

    I would trade for Sizemore if the price isn’t too steep in prospects, then maybe trade Gardner for a pitcher.