As 2014 came to a close, the Phillies had some decisions to make. Obviously, the priority was a 32-year-old former star they had picked up to fill out the roster after he missed the 2011-13 seasons due to becoming what doctors could only refer to as "a wrong human."
Among Phillies outfielders, Grady Sizemore had performed amicably, somehow, and 381 PA with a .701 OPS was enough for Ruben Amaro to ponder Sizemore's future with the organization.
[Sizemore] has outperformed Domonic Brown (.615 OPS) and Ben Revere (.692 OPS) to this point, but does the front office view him as a part of a retooling or rebuilding effort?
"Yeah, very possible," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said recently. "He's played well enough to certainly be in consideration for 2015 and beyond. But again that's one of those questions we'll continue to assess. What we do with our outfield will be one of those questions, and he could very well be a part of it."
Sure, he couldn't find even a .200 BA by September, but what's $2 million between friends? So the Phillies re-upped on Sizemore, and in 39 games for the 2015 Phillies, Sizemore hit .245 before his eventual release to make room for Cody Asche on June 9.
Through spring training, he gathered dust on the bench, while even a tendonitis-stricken Domonic Brown gathered more at-bats. Some broadcasters got their wish, and Sizemore got hit by a pitch, provoking the inevitable unfurling of the Grady Sizemore Historical Injury Scroll.
People waited until mid-April before suggesting that he was part of the reason Darin Ruf's career wasn't taking off. This was right after he had a beer thrown at him by a Mets fan. Still, though, Sizemore caught on quick, hitting .297 in the month of May, with four doubles, five RBI, and 17 strikeouts. On May 17 against Arizona, he went 4-for-5 with a double and touched base five times.
But, in the end, Sizemore's place on the roster was deemed less valuable than that of a former third base prospect whom they would later try and fail to turn into an outfielder after three weeks of practice. Sizemore would eventually get picked up by the Rays and hit six home runs.
Sizemore is far from the only player of his generation to be fading from the game. If anything, his longevity after so long away is a testament to how strong of a player he once was, just simply shattered by unfortunate health issues. His presence in the low-risk talent pool makes him a target of teams like the Phillies, but he'll probably catch on as a college coach or hitting instructor somewhere eventually, while certain unholy members of his demographic continue their chase of immortality.
There's a not-small chance Bartolo is still in bigs after Cliff Lee & Grady Sizemore (2 of the prospects he was dealt for IN 2002) are done.— Anthony Castrovince (@castrovince) October 14, 2015