Phillies call up Grady Sizemore

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It remains to be seen what, if anything, Sizemore has left in the tank

Grady Sizemore's minor-league contract has been selected by the Phillies. In order to make room on the 40 man roster Cliff Lee was transferred to the 60 day DL, and David Buchanan, coming off a well pitched game in Milwaukee, has been optioned to Lehigh Valley.

The acquisition of Sizemore is an interesting experiment, as it's a pure upside play. If he can regain the stroke he showed years ago in Cleveland he'd easily be the best outfielder on the team. If he can provide some small percentage of that stroke he still might be better than two out of the three starting OF on the Phillies, though both Ben Revere (.290/.327/.355 over the last 4 weeks) and Domonic Brown (.258/.306/.361 over the last 4 weeks) have been playing better of late.

The likelihood that Sizemore regains that stroke, however, is remote. Sizemore's last above-average offensive season was 2009 when he hit .248/.343/.445, good for a 109 wRC+. Since 2009 he's accumulated 640 major league plate appearances (205 of which came earlier this year with the Red Sox) in which he's hit .219/.283/.361, or about 20% below average. On the other side of the ball he's seen a similar erosion of skill, as the last season Fangraphs had him rated as an above average defender was 2008. Sill, he may be an upgrade over Domonic Brown, whose defensive failings have been well documented.

It'll be interesting to see how Sandberg utilizes Sizemore, and what he can produce going forward. His is another tale of what could have been. As I write this news is breaking that Masahiro Tanaka has been diagnosed with a torn UCL, with Tommy John surgery not having been ruled out. Situations like these are a stark reminder that these athletes push their bodies to the razor's edge, and unfortunately from time to time their bodies break down. Looking over Grady Sizemore's age 22-25 seasons, you see the enormous talent he had, and which was sapped from him through his various injuries.

This is a list of all players in baseball history to produce more than 24 rWAR in their age 22-25 seasons.

Rk Player WAR/pos From To Age
1 Ty Cobb 40.2 1909 1912 22-25
2 Mickey Mantle 39.0 1954 1957 22-25
3 Eddie Collins 35.5 1909 1912 22-25
4 Rogers Hornsby 32.5 1918 1921 22-25
5 Tris Speaker 32.1 1910 1913 22-25
6 Alex Rodriguez 31.9 1998 2001 22-25
7 Jimmie Foxx 31.4 1930 1933 22-25
8 Lou Gehrig 31.1 1925 1928 22-25
9 Albert Pujols 31.0 2002 2005 22-25
10 Hank Aaron 31.0 1956 1959 22-25
11 Cal Ripken 30.3 1983 1986 22-25
12 Barry Bonds 29.7 1987 1990 22-25
13 Joe DiMaggio 28.9 1937 1940 22-25
14 Arky Vaughan 28.6 1934 1937 22-25
15 Babe Ruth 28.5 1917 1920 22-25
16 Eddie Mathews 28.2 1954 1957 22-25
17 Dick Allen 28.0 1964 1967 22-25
18 Shoeless Joe Jackson 27.7 1910 1913 22-25
19 Evan Longoria 27.4 2008 2011 22-25
20 Willie Mays 27.2 1954 1956 23-25
21 Stan Musial 26.8 1943 1946 22-25
22 Andruw Jones 26.7 1999 2002 22-25
23 George Brett 26.3 1975 1978 22-25
24 Mel Ott 26.3 1931 1934 22-25
25 Rickey Henderson 26.2 1981 1984 22-25
Rk Player WAR/pos From To Age
26 Joe Cronin 25.0 1929 1932 22-25
27 Joe Medwick 24.9 1934 1937 22-25
28 Johnny Bench 24.8 1970 1973 22-25
29 Ken Griffey 24.7 1992 1995 22-25
30 Grady Sizemore 24.6 2005 2008 22-25
31 David Wright 24.0 2005 2008 22-25
32 Jim Fregosi 24.0 1964 1967 22-25
33 Frank Robinson 24.0 1958 1961 22-25
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 7/10/2014.

Quite the illustrious list. It's a shame we missed out on a potential Hall of Fame career because his body betrayed him. That said, he might add something to the Phils, and there's almost no chance that he's a worse player than Tony Gwynn Jr. Regardless of whether he succeeds or fails in Philadelphia it's an interesting addition and one with very little downside.

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