Apr 23, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox right fielder Grady Sizemore (38) runs to third base after hitting a triple during the first inning against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

How long is Grady Sizemore's leash?

The Red Sox’ acquisition of Grady Sizemore this offseason was one of the more intriguing moves not just for the Red Sox, but in all of baseball. The $1MM deal (with the potential to earn up to $6.5MM with incentives) was a low-risk deal to acquire a player that had been one of the very best in the game not too long ago. Sizemore impressed in Spring Training and completed his improbable comeback to Major League Baseball by starting in center field, and homering, on Opening Day in Baltimore. However, since the first couple weeks of the season, Sizemore’s production has slowed down considerably, begging the question of how long the Red Sox are willing to stick with a player that wasn’t really expected to be a part of their plans anyways.

First the positives. As we all know by this point, Sizemore’s upside is huge. From 2005-2008, he was an elite, five-tool player with the Cleveland Indians who slashed .281/.372/.496 with an average of 27 home runs and 28 stolen bases per season. Even in 2014, he has shown remnants of those once-prodigious tools as he has displayed some decent power (.162 isolated power), speed (two stolen bases and a triple), and plate discipline (9.2% walk rate).

However, those tools are all mediocre compared to the player Sizemore once was (though that is understandable considering his two-year absence from baseball and his plethora of surgeries). While those tools still may be above league-average, however, Sizemore has also failed in two once-significant parts of his game. The first of those parts is defense; Sizemore has played in all three outfield positions and while he hasn’t been terrible in corner outfield, he has been absolutely atrocious in center field, his former home. The second of those parts is simply hitting the baseball. In 2014, Sizemore has actually struck out at a lower rate than his career rate (18.4% versus 20.1%), but he just has not made consistent solid contact and while his .245 BABIP is quite low, he hasn’t yet shown evidence that he still has the ability to bring that BABIP up again.

All of that would make for a tough center field situation if it weren’t for the Red Sox’ depth, but that depth is actually causing some harm in this scenario. The Red Sox already have a capable center fielder in Jackie Bradley Jr., who is performing well in the early going, and the abundance of names in the Boston outfield is starting to have some casualties. Earlier this week, Daniel Nava, who slashed .303/.385/.445 last season, was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket after a slow start. All in all, it seems that the continued outfield competition is beginning to have negative repercussions with the Red Sox.

Somebody will have to go soon. Mike Carp or Daniel Nava could find themselves in another city by way of a trade, or the Red Sox could cut their ties with Sizemore. It would be great to have more time to evaluate Sizemore and determine whether or not he can resume his big league career, but with the Red Sox struggling to reach .500 at the end of April, something’s gotta give. If Sizemore’s recent performance continues, it isn’t difficult to imagine him being the one to go in the Red Sox outfield.

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Tags: Boston Red Sox Grady Sizemore

  • IslaMujeres

    Sizemore is a cheap commodity with enormous upside..we haven’t come close to the all star break which would give him the break and turn around for the rest of the season he will get. He stays.

    • Sean Sylver

      Sorry – I think he will turn things around, but if he doesn’t turn it around prior to getting a five day vacation in July, he’s outta here.

  • Doc Longenecker

    They need to bring Nava back. Talk about a short leash.

    • Sean Sylver

      #TeamNava in the house!

      • Conor Duffy


  • Patrick Green

    I think they will wait sometime before making the final call with Sizemore. He showed his capabilities in spring training and don’t want to make a grave mistake DFAing (releasing) him off a small sample size. In the case they do, I would love to see Bryce Brentz get his long-deserved due in the big-leagues.

    • Conor Duffy

      It would be Daniel Nava first, but Brentz still may get his shot sometime this year.

  • Willy

    Though I agree that Sizemore has struggled & played uncharacteristically bad in the OF, I dont see the Sox doing anything with him until he is eligible for trade. A simple release wouldnt be a smart move for the Sox at this time. Nava needs to regain himself and sustain an exceptable batting AVG in Pawtucket before he’s recalled. As for Carp, he could be traded at any time but really that should have been done in the off season (Ben screwed up) when his value was high & several teams inquired. Because Ben procrastinates for so long, he misses opportunities to add talent to his team(s). You never want to trade “low” and at this point if he tried to move any of Carp, Sizemore or Nava he’d come out on the short end of the stick.

  • Drew Peabody

    Part of Sizemore’s struggles which benefitted the Sox are that we have seen what Bradley can do for the team defensively. He is their second most valuable outfielder behind Victorino right now and he should play every day. Sizemore needs reps to stay sharp and he should get the most starts over Gomes and Carp, but this is a well-timed article in that the Sox need more production and if Sizemore can’t show some improvement, he could be gone before the All-Star break

  • MarinersRoyalsBraves2014

    I thought Red Sox had good baseball fans. Sizemore should be splitting DH with David Ortiz, if not now, sometime in the future. Eventually Grady could/should become the full time DH, maybe he should be in LF, now? I’ll admit maybe Bradley should be in CF. Sizemore hasn’t been “absolutely atrocious” in CF, he plays CF like a football player that he once was, he’s not afraid to crash into the wall or dive, he just needs to shed rust. You don’t realize he was going to be the QB for UW Huskies, he was a football player first. He needs to play some DH! Also, he won’t be 100% until next year, in terms of his numbers. He should be looked at as a long-term signing, Fenway is perfect for him! Just focus on what he did in Spring and the first week of the season. It’s a long season!!

    • Sean Sylver

      I’ll agree that it’s a long season but splitting time with Ortiz? Then where does the biggest bat in your lineup play? Sizemore is either an outfielder or he’s off the team – doesn’t matter if he plays it like a football player or plays it like a ballerina – he needs to be adequate out there. Time will tell if he can be.