Hell, it was worth a shot, but the undertaking has turned out to be a complete failure.
It’s time to say goodbye to Grady Sizemore. In 49 games this season with the Red Sox, the former All-Star has managed to hit only .218 with a pair of home runs and 14 runs batted in. Sizemore was 0-for-3 in Monday’s 4-0 loss to the Baltimore Orioles, and has only one extra-base hit in his last 12 games. If there’s anything to be said about Sizemore’s offense after two years out of baseball, it’s that Jackie Bradley, Jr. (.580 OPS) makes him look like a powerhouse.
It’s evident that he’s not that any longer. He’s been average in the field, where manager John Farrell has moved him and his gimpy legs around, playing to the dimensions of major league ballparks; a grand disappointment at the plate, where he’s emitted less power than a lemon-powered battery. The guy who posted a 7.2 WAR in 2008, his last All-Star season, is now a shell of his former self, an afterthought on a team that, like Sizemore, has failed to live up to lofty hopes.
Shane Victorino’s return from the disabled list should coincide nicely with the Red Sox’ cutting bait on Sizemore, who could indeed accept a stint with Triple-A Pawtucket, but that is probably not likely. Even if Victorino’s hamstring isn’t ready to go, Boston is on the hook for some imminent performance bonuses worked into Sizemore’s contract, factors that will ultimately determine his fate this month.
As @redsoxstats pointed out, Sizemore is only 33 plate appearances and 17 days away from receiving bonuses that pay him $250,000 for every 25 plate appearances from 225-500. The outfielder has 192 plate appearances heading into Tuesday’s game at Camden Yards.
Sizemore is also due another $250,000 roster bonus for spending 90 days on the major league roster. He already made the first tier of that incentive bypassing Day 60. He’d be due to make another $250,000 for 120 and 150 days, as well.
That’s not happening.
You can’t blame Boston for taking a $750,000 flier on Sizemore, who made plenty of folks dream big during spring training, when he hit .310 in 42 at-bats. Sizemore singled in his first at-bat on Opening Day in Baltimore, and followed that up by going deep to right field for his first home run since 2011. He hit his second home run on April 11 at Yankee Stadium. He added two more hits the following evening, already his fifth game with two hits or more over the first 10 games of the season, in which he hit .343. Since April 15 though, Sizemore has hit only .187 with nine extra-base hits and a .526 OPS.
April, come she will. June, she’ll change her tune.
There will be no July.
While it’s fair to criticize general manager Ben Cherington and the Red Sox for not picking up a serviceable replacement for Sizemore in case the experiment didn’t pan out, they probably also didn’t expect Bradley to boast the fourth-worst OPS in all of baseball either. Offensive production in the outfielder has been a disaster, a deep plunge from 2013 when Victorino, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jonny Gomes, and Daniel Nava contributed to one of the top units in Major League Baseball.
A year later, as the 28-35 Red Sox flounder, 10 games out of first place in the AL East, and looking at 10 other teams ahead of them in the wild card hunt (the hapless Houston Astros, at 29-36, are percentage points ahead of the defending World Series champs), it’s near time to start thinking about cutting bait and making changes for 2015. Ending its association with Sizemore will be Step No. 1.
It was a cute story in spring training. Alas, Florida fairy tales don’t normally translate in reality.
Neither has Grady Sizemore, coming this summer to a waiver wire near you.