I do think it is a little early to call Grady Sizemore a bust, but the early returns are not good.
Since back-to-back 2 hit games against the Yankees on April 11 and 13, Sizemore has hit an abysmal .167 / .218 OBP. Granted, this is carried by an equally abysmal .209 BABIP, which might indicate some bad luck.
For the season, Sizemore has a .253 BABIP, and when compared to his xBABIP of .302, it does look like luck has not been on Sizemore’s side. Further, he has been a solid outfielder defensively, and filled in at multiple positions.
The real question that lingers is if he can ever right the ship. Last year, Victor Martinez spent a full half-season struggling offensively in the wake of an extended absence, and then once he got going, has not stopped hitting since. Do the Sox expect a similar resurgence from Sizemore? Certain they hope for it. Granted, Sizemore’s absence was longer than Martinez’, but he is also a younger player.
Still, it seems now and even did then, that expecting Sizemore to even reclaim a part of the success that once made him the best overall outfielder in MLB (which he was) was the longest of longshots. Is it time to cut bait? Even if he can equalize his unlucky BABIP, we are still looking at a .258 hitter with a .329OBP and maybe 8-10HRs. Those numbers are less than what David Freese gave the Cardinals last year, and he was shipped off for an outfielder barely good enough to keep a starting role.
Upgrading LF, despite what many think, is not as easy as sending off some redundant prospects for al All Star. To get most of the names fans want, the price tag will likely include Bogaerts, Betts or both. The Marlins are not giving up Stanton for the packages Sox fans want to give up. Loria has always been a financially conscious owner, and after a season where the Marlins sold like 250 tickets, he does recognize that it is Stanton who sells them. In fact, the Marlins ticket hotline is actually Giancarlo’s cell number.
And as most names won’t be available until late June at the earliest, since a lot of teams are still in it, and those who are going to sell will at least want as many bidders as possible so as to maximize the return, if the Sox want to “do anything,” they have to look at the free and easy upgrades that will be available ASAP. Here are some names, not inspring ones, but names.
Justin Maxwell. Recently DFA’d by the Royals and on track to clear waivers, the Sox could grab this minimum wage player with surprising power (34HR in 900PA over his career, so about 20 in a full season) and the ability to play all three outfield positions rather well. At the very least, he is a “free” stopgap option till better options present themselves.
Travis Snider. The Pirates will want to clear outfield spot for the post-Super Two arrival of Gregoy Polanco, and moving Snider will work for them. Snider is also on the short list of players who could be acquired for Middlebrooks. His .211 / .299 OBP is largely created by a .253 BABIP. However, with an xBABIP of .340, Snider is, to put it mildly, insanely unlucky. He should be posting .262 / .340 OBP numbers. He also has as much power as Middlebrooks and is just as likely to reach some sort of potential, being only 6 months older than Middlebrooks. The Pirates would likely be in favor of this deal, not only because it clears roster space, but also because the acquisition of Middlebrooks allows them to make their long-anticipated move of Pedro Alvarez to 1B.
Chris Carter. Like Snider, Carter could be another victim of losing his job to a top prospect, in this case Jonathan Singleton. Carter is more known for his incredibly lofty strikeout totals, but at least balances with a passable walk rate. He won’t put up great BA number, but has, to be mild, prodigious power (29HRs last year) and a swing that Fenway is unlikely to screw up, since it is already there.
Carlos Quentin. Really, this is the guy they need. Quentin has every ability to Sox need except the ability to stay healthy. He is easily one of, if not the most underrated power hitter in MLB. Petco is not his friend, and the Padres have a logjam of MLB outfielders fighting for at-bats (though admittedly, not fighting well). But at least Quentin’s part time status is at least countered by a salary of about half or less of what his equals make. Unlike the other 3 names, Quentin is likely to cost. One has to figure he will cost at least one really good top ten prospect, and then a little more. For the sake or argument, let’s start the bidding ith Cecchini and add a PTBNL conditional on playing time. Cecchini is somewhat redundant, given Bogaerts’s move to 3B and the potential arrival of Devin Marrero next season. Add a PTBNL with conditions like, if Quentin gets over 300PA this year, the Padres get Ranaudo. For 200-299 PA, they get Brian Johnson. For less than 200PA, they get Bryce Brentz or Sean Coyle. Something along those lines.