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.
|18||Shoeless Joe Jackson||27.7||1910||1913||22-25|
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.