Thursday, January 23, 2014

Red Sox sign Grady Sizemore!

It came out last night that the Red Sox have signed outfielder Grady Sizemore to a one year, $750,000 contract. When I found out, my reaction was to run around my apartment all giddy-like. You can ask my wife, I really did that.

This is a great signing, and I'm not just biased because Sizemore is one of my favorite players of all time. First off, Sizemore is not going to be the player he was from 2006 to 2008. Injuries aside, nobody is. Still, that player from 2006 to 2008 was pretty amazing. According to Fangraphs*, the best players in the game for that three year stretch by WAR, and then their WAR from 2011 to 2013: 

Pujols, Albert24.78.7
Utley, Chase22.510.8
Sizemore, Grady21.10.1
Wright, David20.015.1
Beltran, Carlos20.09.7
Rodriguez, Alex19.56.5
Jones, Chipper*18.34.6
Reyes, Jose17.112.1
Holliday, Matt16.814.0
Ramirez, Hanley16.88.9

*Note: I usually prefer Baseball Reference's WAR calculator, but they are pretty close for offense and FanGraphs makes it much easier to sort by multiple years.

*Note 2: Chipper Jones retired following the 2012 season

Anyhow, everyone dropped off. The smallest dropoff was Holliday, who a) is riding a long peak into a possible Hall of Fame career, and b) B-Ref's calcluation is MUCH less impressed with over the past three years. The group includes two definite Hall of Famers (Jones and Pujols), one more who should be a definite Hall of Famer but the voters can't be counted on to not be morons (Utley), a borderline player I'd vote yes on today (Beltran), and a player who would've been a sure thing, except for three years of disaster (Rodriguez). For the other five, Wright, Reyes, Holliday and Ramirez can both play themselves in, leaving Sizemore. Basically, if he'd stayed healthy he'd be a borderline Hall of Famer already. And he's still only 31!

Ok, so he didn't stay healthy. At all. In the last five years he's played 210 games, and in the last two he's played zero. And when he did play, he wasn't nearly what he used to be, hitting .234/.314/.413.

So what's the point, you ask? Well, the Red Sox have some outfield depth, but it isn't necessarily quality depth. And Sizemore's 2009-2011 line, while nothing amazing, looks better in context. The average AL right fielder hit .263/.323/.418 in 2013, and the average left fielder hit .256/.318/.406. Sizemore isn't a center fielder anymore, and the Red Sox shouldn't fool themselves into thinking he is. But as a very-low cost backup with some upside, Sizemore is exactly what the Red Sox need. 

No comments: