"Sizemore can swing the bat."
This is something that was said by the general manager of the Phillies, Ruben Amaro. He did not travel back in time to 2006, 2007 or 2008, when Grady Sizemore was worth 21.7 wins above replacement.
The Phillies signed outfielder Grady Sizemore to a one-year, $2 million contract in October, despite posting a .580 OPS from Aug. 6 through the end of the season. Sizemore has hit just .147 in 34 at-bats this spring. Other outfielders in camp like Brian Bogusevic (.344 in 32 at-bats), Jordan Danks (.257 in 35 at-bats) and Jeff Francoeur (.206 in 34 at-bats) have either outperformed Sizemore of have skill sets that Sizemore does not have (i.e. better defensively). Amaro said Bogusevic, Danks, Francoeur or Canzler could be the team’s Opening Day right fielder.
That said, Sizemore is expected to make the team.
"For me he is (on the team)," Amaro said. "Sizemore can swing the bat."
Obviously, you don't want to make decisions about your roster based solely on spring training numbers, and the odds that either Bogusevic, Danks or Francoeur are going to be impact players in this league aren't that great. So perhaps that's why Sizemore is going to make the team.
Although if I look up last year's statistics, it tells me that in 381 plate appearances, Sizemore hit .233 with a .299 on-base percentage and a slugging percentage of .354. He hit five home runs, stole six bases and played below average defense in the outfield, worth -0.7 fWAR last year for both the Phils and the Red Sox.
But hey, he's a young guy the team can build around, just 32 years old... wait, what's that you say? You say 32 isn't young in baseball years, especially for a guy who missed two full seasons because of knee injuries, back injuries and other ailments?
Of course, the sad situation is there really aren't any better options for the Phillies in the outfield right now. As I wrote about on Monday, the team could have a historic shortage of power out there, with the light-hitting Ben Revere in left and similarly light-hitting Odubel Herrera in center. Domonic Brown, if healthy, could provide some pop in right, but only if he rediscovers the stroke that made him an All-Star in 2013, which isn't likely.
The Phils don't like Darin Ruf in the outfield, so don't expect to see any power coming from there. And in Bogusevic, Danks and Francoeur, the Phillies don't have a difference-maker, or a young up-and-coming player there either.
So at the end of the day, it doesn't really matter a whole lot if Sizemore makes the team. Even though I'm not high on Brown, I do not want to see Sizemore playing over Brown when Dom is healthy. That would be stupid. But as long as Brown's Achilles injury keeps him on the disabled list, it doesn't really matter if it's Sizemore, Danks, Franoeur, Bogusevic, or whoever out there.
That being said, you've got to root for the guy. After all, it's pretty impressive he came back from this ridiculous list of injuries to once again be on a Major League 25-man roster, even if it is the Phillies.
And hey, he's still capable of this every now and then, which is cool.
Prove us wrong, Grady. Prove us wrong.