April 24, 2014

GIF: Grady Sizemore hits his first homer for the Boston Red Sox

All the king’s horsemen and all the king’s men couldn’t put Grady Sizemore back together again in Cleveland. In case you missed it, though, Grady is back and the former Tribe phenom won the center field job in Boston. Honestly, despite the joke, I couldn’t be happier for Grady Sizemore who only ever wanted to be great for the Indians. I feel sad to see him play in another team’s uniform, but good for him. He’s off to a good start. Here’s his homer in his first game with the Red Sox.

[Related: 2014 WFNY Tribe Predictions]

Picture: Grady Sizemore flashback

Maybe you got rich betting against Grady Sizemore’s comeback these last few years. I just got sad.

But a reinvigorated Sizemore is battling for the centerfield vacancy in Boston with Jackie Bradley Jr. Apparently, he’s making an impression on Red Sox skipper (and Cleveland aficionado!) John Farrell:


 

This LeBron-to-Cleveland thing just isn’t going away: While We’re Waiting

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Where soap opera and sport collide. If you thought that the LeBron James-Cleveland chatter would dissipate following an awful season marred with losing streaks, injuries and executives losing their jobs, think again. All of the variables that were a part of Saturday evening’s jersey retirement ceremony, when placed into a vacuum, seem to mean very little. But as Jason Lloyd spells out, there is palpable belief in Independence that has James once again wearing wine and gold. There’s so much to take away from this column, including, but not limited to, Rich Paul’s role as the emotional liaison. Recall, on the day that Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson were introduced to the city of Cleveland, it was Paul who was the subject of this very piece.

Forget for a minute that Paul himself told WFNY that he called Gilbert  (and not Chris Grant) on the night of The Decision, but the fact that the team has kept the long-time friend of James and arms length through this entire roller coaster is no accident. That Ilgauskas may not be in Cleveland beyond this season (A source tell WFNY that the Big Man’s heart is no longer in his role; the fatigue from travel and not seeing his family has finally caught up.) may not be as big of an issue as it’s being portrayed. James had a front-row seat for what was an incredible display of admiration and appreciation for a player who meant so very much to the city of Cleveland. Ilgauskas was from Lithuania and adopted Cleveland as home; James is from Akron, Ohio, allowing him to skip all of the mental paperwork. To think that a similar display—the former teammates, coaches and emotional highlight reels—would not be in his future if he chose to return home would be asinine. By all accounts, on Saturday night, James displayed professional and personable character traits that were completely absent during his tenure with the team. Whether a 3-D on-floor video and immense fan fare would be enough to tug on a changed man’s heartstrings…well, we’ll find out this July.

*****

Grady’s new normal. Assuming his legs stay attached, Cleveland fans should gear up for a slew of Grady Sizemore 2.0 pieces hitting their timelines and RSS feeds over the next several weeks. Sizemore, as you may have heard, has caught on with the Boston Red Sox after years of injuries caught up with him. Certainly, many of the stories that will be penned will inflate the smallest of accomplishments. After all, Major League Baseball’s Spring Training is the place where players showing up in shape get rewarded with praise-laced columns. But when it comes to Sizemore, one of the game’s best players as recent as 2008, it’s a story worth the attention. Grady will never be the same. His explosiveness may be dampened. He’s had to re-learn his swing. The Ladies are long gone. But for a game that is littered with stories of deceit, Sizemore making an impact at the MLB level after years of disappointment would be a welcomed change.

*****

Retiring at 26. Cleveland fans will always have a bizarre relationship with Rashard Mendenhall. After watching him drag Buckeye defenders around the field, the Illini product landed with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Now after spending time in Arizona, the bruising running back has decided to hang up his cleats—and he isn’t going down quietly. “I decided not to hold a press conference because I didn’t want to have to say things that were cliché. I’ve done enough of that since I’ve been playing football,” said Mendenhall in one of the better athlete-penned columns you’ll ever read. A guy who has an appreciation for dance, art and literature speaks out about the misinterpretation and judgement that surrounds a professional athlete in today’s society. I can tell you that he gained at least one fan over the last 24 hours.

*****

And just because: Andrea Bargnani. Happy Monday, kids.

Reds have talked to Grady Sizemore about possible comeback

Grady SizemoreThe Cincinnati Reds have recently talked to former Cleveland Indians All-Star outfielder Grady Sizemore about a comeback.

Reds MLB.com beat writer Mark Sheldon shared the news on Friday via team general manager Walt Jocketty. Jocketty said he that he’s talked to Sizemore, but he’s “not sure where that is right now. With the holidays, not much has happened.” Jocketty said he believes Sizemore “appears to be” healthy.

The Reds are currently planning on playing rookie Billy Hamilton in center field next season. They had rental Shin-Soo Choo in that role last year after a trade with Arizona and Cleveland. Choo recently signed a mega seven-year $130 million deal with the Texas Rangers. Sizemore could then theoretically provide some insurance in Cincinnati’s outfield.

Now 31, Sizemore last played in a professional baseball game in September 2011. He then signed a $5 million deal with the Indians for 2012, but was never healthy enough to play. Last season, he shared that he would potentially join a team mid-season if healthy, but that also never came to be. Thus far this offseason, he’s reportedly already drawn interest from various teams.

SI.com’s Ben Reiter listed Sizemore as one of 10 under-the-radar free agents, noting that he could make a late-career comeback a la Carlos Beltran. He theorized that the New York Mets would be a great fit. FanGraphs’ Dan Szymborski tweeted out a very depressing chart on Thursday about Sizemore’s rest-of-career projections as of the end of 2008. Former MLB outfielder and current Fox Sports Live analyst Gabe Kapler tweeted that he’d roll the dice on a Sizemore signing.

I’d think that more likely than not Sizemore won’t end up in Cleveland because of the team’s impressive MLB outfield depth, even with the recent trade of Drew Stubbs. Teams like the Reds or Mets make a little more sense for him to get a fresh start on his new career. I’m sure all Indians fans will wish him nothing but the best even as we lament on what could have been.

[Related from Aug. 2011: Have We Seen The Last of Grady Sizemore?]

MLB News: Grady Sizemore drawing interest

As of today, Grady Sizemore has still only played in the majors for the Cleveland Indians. That might just be about to change.

According to Nick Cafardo, Grady Sizemore has been getting a lot of interest because he should be ready for spring training. Of course, it’s hard to figure exactly what “a lot of interest” looks like for a player who has played in only about 200 games from 2009 to 2011. His last appearance in a game was September 22, 2011.

But with game tape on the books like Sizemore has and with a presumed infinitesimal price tag, it’s not surprising that Sizemore would be drawing interest. The Twins kicked the tires and have reportedly moved on.

Justin Klugh of Philly.com makes the case that Sizemore could be a low-risk, high reward maneuver for the Phillies.

But he would be cheap, is the thing. He would have to be. That’s sort of the baseline of any argument that signing Sizemore wouldn’t be a waste of space. After that, you just sort of watch and wait to see if he can still be a shadow of his former self and if that shadow has any real reason to be on the big club. If he comes out hot, well rested, and ready to go, then his inexpensive deal looks brilliant. If he’s lagging, in pain, or can’t push past the Mendoza Line after a while, then at least it was only a cheap deal. And so far this offseason, the Phillies haven’t made any moves much more exciting than “Grady Sizemore,” so they’re certainly not above it.

Of course, the hometown Cleveland Indians can’t be left out of this conversation. Our own Jon called it “dumpster diving” for Grady Sizemore in reference to Jason Lukehart’s post at LetsGoTribe.

GRADY SIZEMORE (all caps) is never coming back, and I’m not confident he’ll even be a real contributor again, but I would have said the same thing about Scott Kazmir last winter, and here we are a few month later, contemplating whether the Indians should make him a $14.1 million qualifying offer. A small percentage of broken players do come back from oblivion, and it costs almost nothing for a team to see what happens. I don’t know that Sizemore would even want to come back to Cleveland. He’s said nothing but kind things, and I believe he’s sincere, but he may want a fresh start somewhere else.

I wish Sizemore nothing but the best. I always felt more sorry for him than I did for myself as and Indians fan when he wasn’t able to come back from his numerous surgeries. Of course, you can count me in on the Grady Sizemore dumpster dive.

How about you?

[Related: Tribe Talk: Murphy, 40-man additions, and the Kinsler/Fielder trade]

 

MLB News: Grady Sizemore resumes baseball activities

Last we heard from former Cleveland Indians All-Star Grady Sizemore, he was eyeing a mid-season return to the game when he was healthy enough to compete again.

Per a Boston Globe report by Nick Cafardo today, it appears that the 30-year-old has indeed resumed activities. Here’s his tidbit when discussing Boston’s plans and other notable acquisitions on the market:

6. Grady Sizemore, OF, free agent — It shouldn’t be long before a long list of teams start to inquire about Sizemore. He’s begun baseball activities after missing all this time with knee surgeries, and so far he’s had no setbacks. Sizemore was once one of the great talents in the game, and it appears he’s working his way back and could help teams needing outfield help (Mets?) for the second half of the season.

The Mets were a team that was previously linked to Sizemore at the 2012 Winter Meetings. Oddly enough, they previously competed against the Indians for the rights to Michael Bourn, but didn’t make as steep an offer because of their No. 11 first-round draft pick.

Sizemore has played in just 104 games since the start of the 2010 season. He was an All-Star for Cleveland from 2006-2008, producing at a clip of .279/.380/.499 with an average of 42 doubles, 28 homers, 81 RBI and 31 steals per season. He even appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated. But then the injury bug began in 2009, and he’s never been the same player ever since.

The Indians gave him a reaffirmation of their belief with a $5 million contract for the 2012 season, but Sizemore never appeared on the field. As of now, it’s certainly unlikely that GM Chris Antonetti and the team would be interested in his services again.

[Related: 2013 MLB Draft: Indians look to buck trend with No. 5 pick]

Cleveland Indians talk – trying not to talk attendance, Swisher’s intangibles, Francona and Ubaldo and more with TD – WFNY Podcast – 2013-05-09

WFNY Podcast LogoWe did talk briefly about the attendance, but really not much at all. We’ve both agreed that it shouldn’t dominate the headlines a second year in a row.

  • Lackluster attendance and how tired we are of talking about it

  • Bud Shaw’s article about the long-term project

  • TV ratings and how far they’re up year over year

  • You can’t get the pulse of casual fans that stopped going

  • Nick Swisher truly has intangibles

  • LeBron dancing and picture-taking vs. Nick Swisher’s mugging and dancing

  • Grady Sizemore and Travis Hafner while great guys and decent players weren’t electric personalities

  • Mike Aviles throwing sunflower seeds at Terry Francona during in-game interview

  • Francona setting his own bar so very high for himself in Boston

  • Jonathan Papelbon and how purely hateable he is

  • Theo Epstein and how he’s disappeared into the Cubs job

  • Brett Meyers, Daisuke Matsuzaka and the also-rans in the system

  • Ubaldo Jimenez and how Francona is managing him [Read more...]

Sizemore potentially eying mid-season to sign with MLB team

Rather than signing a multi-million deal and hoping to play, veteran outfielder Grady Sizemore will not sign a contract for the 2013 MLB season until he is 100 percent recovered from his recent microfracture surgery.

FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports, via the player’s representative, that Sizemore may not even consider putting pen to paper until the middle of the upcoming season.

“[Joe] Urbon said that a number of teams have expressed interest in Sizemore, and that some have offered to sign him and allow him to rehabilitate at his own pace,” writes Rosenthal. “Sizemore, however, felt like he tried to rush back last season to fulfill his one-year, $5 million free-agent contract with the Cleveland Indians. As it turned out, he did not play a single game.”

The New York Mets were reportedly “very interested” in the injury-plagued Sizemore as recent as the 2012 Winter Meetings.

[Related: Tribe brass turns scarlet, grey and green into Nick Swisher wearing red, white and blue]

MLB News: Mets “very interested” in Grady Sizemore

The New York Mets are reportedly hot on the trail of former Cleveland Indians outfielder Grady Sizemore.

Sizemore is coming off a second microfracture knee surgery and is not expected to be healthy  — at the very least –until the middle of the 2013 season.

A three-time All-Star, Sizemore is entering his age-30s season. Sizemore hasn’t appeared in a major league game since September 22, 2011 and has hit .220 in just 104 games since the end of 2009, having his career limited by a bevy of health issues.

The Mets, providing quite the headline fodder this offseason, have spent their resources in locking David Wright up in an eight-year deal and trading away Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey.

[Related: Acta Goes Down, But Antonetti Should Have Gone With Him]

MLB News: Grady Sizemore undergoes another microfracture surgery

Grady Sizemore’s agent, Joe Urbon, confirmed that the former Cleveland Indians outfielder had microfracture surgery on his right knee this past September.

Sizemore previously had microfracture surgery on his left knee in 2010, one of the several operations he has undergone since his stretch of MVP-like performances between 2006-2008. Though Sizemore missed all of the 2012 season after injuring his back in Spring Training, it appears that the knee was a continual source of pain and frustration throughout the year.

Urbon reportedly stated that this microfracture surgery was “a lot less invasive” than Sizemore’s first, but the player understands the bid to return to the field is going to be a long process given his recent history. Returning to the field, however, continues to be a priority for the 30-year-old free agent who has played in Cleveland every year of his professional career.

“[Sizemore] has a good mindset,” Urbon said. “He knows what to expect and what each step brings.

“He has every intention of coming back when he’s 100 percent, and not a day sooner.”

Since playing in 162, 162 and 157 games, respectively, Sizemore has combined to play in 210 games over the last three seasons.

[Related: Tribe At The Winter Meetings: Will They Add, Or Blow It Up?]

Seven Straight Losses, Sizemore Done, Tomlin Going for T.J. Surgery, Just Another Day in Wahooland

So before last night’s date with King Felix Hernandez, beleaguered Indians manager Manny Acta and team trainer Lonnie Soloff met with the media. I am sure they had a blast discussing all of the great news they had to share (sarcasm font needed). In all seriousness, there is legitimately nothing positive going on in and around the Indians organization right now.

Nothing.

On the field the team has become an abject disaster, bereft of an offense while not knowing if their starting pitcher on any given day will go eight innings or make it out of the third. They have exactly three relievers they can count on. It’s enough to give any manager agita.

Acta and Soloff sat there and told the media that oft-injured CF Grady Sizemore had yet another set back and will not play in 2012. Apparently he has been experiencing right knee soreness during his rehab. In other news, the sky is blue, water is wet, and the Ubaldo Jimenez trade has been a failure. [Read more...]

Indians’ Grady Sizemore Will Not Play in 2012

Now experiencing soreness in his right knee, outfielder Grady Sizemore is officially done for the 2012 season, a year in which he played zero games after being signed to a one-year deal in the offseason.

Missing the bulk of the season following a Spring Training back injury, the 30-year-old Sizemore has undergone operations on his back, left elbow and both knees, along with a pair of sports hernia procedures in the last four years alone.

“It’s sad,” Indians manager Manny Acta said regarding his one-time MVP candidate. “I won’t call it disappointing. I’m just sad for the human being that he is, and the type of player that he is. Especially for me, because one of the things that attracted me the most to this job was Grady Sizemore, being able to have a player that was going to help me win ballgames by himself.”

Sizemore, the former fan favorite who was once called the best player in the AL Central, was signed to a one-year, incentive-laden contract with a base salary of $5 million over the winter despite hitting just .224 with 10 home runs and 32 RBIs in 71 games in 2011. Over the four seasons prior, Sizemore hit a combined .234 with 28 homers, 109 RBIs and 17 stolen bases in 210 games. This compares to the period between 2005-08, when Sizemore hit .281 with 107 homers, 325 RBIs and 115 stolen bases in 639 games, making three All-Star appearances and garnering two Gold Glove Awards.

“A lot of things have happened over the last three, four years that have been completely out of his control,” said Acta. “The guy played the game right. He was an elite player in this league. Unfortunately, over the last three or four seasons, he hasn’t been able to do it.”

[Related: Comparing Manny Acta to Colt McCoy]

Buster Olney: Indians “Not Expecting Anything” from Grady Sizemore in 2012

– ESPN’s Buster Olney provides the latest update on Cleveland Indians center fielder Grady Sizemore’s ongoing health issues. Just back on July 3, general manager Chris Antonetti shared that Sizemore was hitting and throwing, but had yet to run. It appears that is still an issue, per the latest from Olney. It now appears doubtful that the Indians will get much at all from their $5 million offseason investment.

[Related: Indians All-Star Break Review: DH and Outfielders]

Indians All-Star Break Review: DH and Outfielders

As we do each summer at WFNY when the Cleveland Indians hit the All-Star break, we take a look back at the four facets of the team on the field. There’s been been a lot to talk about with this club. Their 44-41 record is good enough for second in the American League Central, but the team has shown some serious flaws. GM Chris Antonetti continues to tell us that the Indians have not played their best baseball yet. I hope he is right. Additions will need to be made and in-house improvements will be a must if the Tribe plans on playing October baseball.

We started by looking at the starting rotation. Next was the bullpen. Yesterday we examined the infielders, and today, the last of our four part series, will delve into the DH and the outfield.

The best laid Indians outfield plans were shelved before Spring Training even started. The decision to bring back Grady Sizemore for another year was good in theory. But the Indians should have known better. While preparing for the season, Sizemore hurt his back so severely that he needed surgery. The team doctors didn’t want to put a timetable on his return, but the earliest we were told we’d see him was mid-June. At this point, the free agent market was completely barren.

The injury began a chain of events which hamstrung the team’s offensive plans. Instead of Sizemore in center, flanked by Michael Brantley and Shin-Soo Choo, Brantley would move back to center (where he belongs by the way), and left field would become a contest between Shelley Duncan and a bunch of former Major League castoffs on Minor League deals. Nobody stepped forward to claim the job other than Duncan, who showed some power in Goodyear, but hit under .200. He was given the job by default. [Read more...]

Video: Chris Antonetti talks Indians All-Stars, Sizemore and Improving the Team

Cleveland GM Chris Antonetti was interviewed yesterday on the MLB Network. Here is the video of that interview-

Highlights of the interview-

“Antonetti on Chris Perez and how vocal he is:  ‘I think with Chris, everything’s coming from the right place with him. He’s a guy that’s a great teammate. He really believes in himself and the team that we’ve built here. I think what he’s trying to say is we’ve got a great team that’s been very competitive in a great environment and wants our fans to come out and enjoy the game. I think that’s the foundation from which Chris’s comments have come. Obviously, we’d maybe wish he’d choose his words a little bit differently, but they’re coming from the right place.’”

“Antonetti on Grady Sizemore’s rehabilitation: ‘Grady’s been rehabbing. He’s a little bit further behind. He’s a couple of weeks away right now. He’s hitting on the field. He’s started throwing, but he’s yet to start running…Hopefully, after the All-Star break, he’ll pick those up and he’ll be able to rejoin the team shortly thereafter.’”

“Antonetti on how much salary the team can take on: ‘Right now, we anticipate having any means of financial flexibility to improve the team. We have not been given any direction otherwise. I think the Dolans have a demonstrated track record of showing that when the team is in the hunt, they’ll give us the resources we need to improve the team.’”

There you go.

[Related: Indians stray from consensus, sign Dominican OF]

Lubinger: Q&A With Mark Shapiro

If you haven’t had a chance to see the extensive Q&A session from Bill Lubinger of The Plain Dealer with Indians President Mark Shapiro, it’s a must read. In it, Shapiro addresses all of the hot button issues, including attendance, team profits, player spending, and on-field performance. Below are two of the more interesting answers to questionable moves made by the organization: the Ubaldo Jimenez trade and the Grady Sizemore signing in the offseason.

On if you can grade the Ubaldo Jimenez trade:

“I don’t believe you can grade trades along the way. You grade them at any juncture in time, you are going to make a mistake. What you have is snapshots in time in which you form opinions, and then you wait and evaluate once it’s clear. You’ve got to evaluate on both sides — what did you get, what did you give up. What I’m clear on is that the intent of the Ubaldo trade was our effort to seize an opportunity, our effort to demonstrate a sense of urgency to our fans that we want to win, we want to win now … I think it’s still premature to evaluate the trade.”

On paying Grady Sizemore so much in the offseason:

“That’s not a lot. If you look at the value of a major-league free agent, one win in major-league free agency is somewhere between seven and eight million dollars. When you look at what $5 million can get you on the major league free-agent market, before you say, “Why did you pay him so much?”, go look at who’s being paid $5 million. … We got the right deal at that time and I still feel like there was no player available with his level of upside on the market at those dollars, without a doubt.”

Report: Grady Sizemore’s Rehab Hits Setback

In what is becoming something of a recurring theme lately for the Cleveland Indians, physically fit-challenged OF Grady Sizemore, who is currently rehabbing his injured knees and back, has hit a setback in his bid to return to the Tribe.

Jordan Bastian tweeted the news from trainer Lonnie Soloff:

Acta & Soloff (trainer) note that Sizemore (back/knees) has slowed down in his rehab. Backed off some running activities last couple weeks.

According to Bastian, Soloff did add that he was still confident Sizemore would contribute in 2012, but he declined to set any kind of definitive time table.

It would have been foolish for the Indians to count on much production from Sizemore, who just hasn’t been able to stay healthy over the last several years. But evidently they did just that when they decided to give Sizemore a contract to return to the team. Now both sides must continue to preach patience while keeping fingers crossed that some version of a productive Sizemore can eventually get back on the diamond.

[Related: Is Michael Brantley Figuring It Out?]

Grady And Pronk – Symbols of the Era of “Just Missed”

So Travis Hafner is out for six weeks after needing knee surgery and Grady Sizemore’s return from back surgery seems to be nowhere in sight. Stop me if you have heard something like this before. Decades from now, these two former cornerstone guys will be looked back on more for what they couldn’t do than for what they actually accomplished. I long for the days of 2005, 2006, and 2007 when Pronk and Grady were All-Star type players who played every single day and delivered the goods at the plate.

The incredible thing about Sizemore was not just his amazing play both with the stick and with the glove, but his durability. During his peak four-year stretch from 2005-2008, Grady missed just nine games TOTAL, which included a streak of 382 consecutive games played. Now we look at him as if he were Mr. Glass from the 2000 M. Knight Shyamalan movie “Unbreakable.”  Six surgeries and two bum knees later, Sizemore has become a lost cause that the Indians continue to sit and wait on. [Read more...]

The Left Field Fiasco

Tribe off-days seem few and far between. With a 21-game in 20-day stretch now over and the 40-game mark now surpassed, we can take a look at some hard truths about this this team. Last year the magic number was 45 games, where the Indians were 30-15 and the darlings of the majors. Things fell completely their way during that stretch. The pitching was spectacular, both rotation and bullpen. It was a different hero every single night. Heck, Orlando freaking Cabrera (Obie!) was being hailed as a guy who was a great clubhouse influence (insane I know) who helped Asdrubal Cabrera find his power stroke. Everything clicked.

This season we have another first place team at essentially the same point in the season. Once again, the pitching has been very good, but not quite as good as a year before.  During that hot start, the 2011 club looked a lot better offensively than what we have seen from this current group, yet both teams are in first place. The 2012 offensive limitations have been known since the start of Spring Training.

[Read more...]

Manny Ramirez Prepping for Return in AAA

During the MLB off-season as the Indians were trying to find a right-handed bat, I wondered what could be bad about trying to bring Manny Ramirez back. As everyone told me I was crazy and that it was a bad idea and that he had nothing left in the tank, the Indians brought back Grady Sizemore and eventually signed a deal with Johnny Damon. Well, as those storylines continue to play out, Manny Ramirez, who has seemingly turned over a new leaf, is preparing to in AAA to join the Oakland A’s on a $500,000 deal.

“I went through all that situation and I looked myself in the eye and I said to myself I needed a change,” Ramirez said. “My wife is Christian, you know, and I decided to go that path. That’s why I’m here. Because when you fall, the men, all the men do is remind of your past but when you come to God, God says you’re like a new child.”

As Sizemore continues to rehab and Johnny Damon continues to pop balls up and throw underhand from left field, it might make some wonder, “What it?”

UPDATE: Ramirez suffers slight set-back-

“Ramirez was held out of Sunday’s game with Triple-A Sacramento because of a left wrist injury of unknown severity. He is with the River Cats for a 10-game assignment as his 50-game major league suspension nears completion. He went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts in his Sacramento debut on Saturday at Albuquerque.”