Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
From the minute that he signed with the Boston Red Sox this January, Grady Sizemore has taken his place as one of the offseason’s more interesting acquisitions. Sizemore has not played in the Major Leagues at all since 2011 and has not had a fully healthy season since 2008, when he was one of the best players in all of baseball: a five-tool center fielder who ranked fourth in baseball in total WAR during a four-year peak from 2005-2008. However, a fully healthy Sizemore is finally ready to put the past behind and move forward with his recently-stagnating career.
According to accounts from Red Sox coaches, players, and journalists, Sizemore has been doing just that. The 31-year old has made a strong first impression for the Red Sox, showing excellent speed both on the basepaths and in his native center field as well as a strong, smooth swing in the batting cages. Red Sox hitting coach Greg Colbrunn is especially impressed with Sizemore’s resurgence.
"I’d say, ‘Wow, this guy has a really good swing.’ You watch him swing and you say, ‘No wonder he’s had the success he’s had in the past, because of his swing.'”It’s simple, it’s smooth, it’s under control. All the good things you look for in a swing, that’s what his swing looks like right now."
Though perhaps not eloquently stated by Colbrunn, he gets the point across. Grady Sizemore, despite missing the last two seasons and going through a shocking number of injuries through the last five years, looks good. Really good.
The question is, of course, whether Sizemore will actually be able to contribute in the 2014 season. Nobody can definitively answer that question just yet, but we will get our first look at Sizemore in one of tomorrow’s games against Boston College and Northeastern respectively. John Farrell has not yet announced which game Sizemore will play, but he has announced that the former pride of Cleveland will see his first game action tomorrow.
Obviously, Red Sox and baseball fans in general will be cheering for Sizemore to rejuvenate his career and become even half the player that he once was. Unfortunately, there is no clear spot for him on the 25-man roster. He is currently blocked by top prospect Jackie Bradley Jr. in center field and by Shane Victorino and the Daniel Nava/Jonny Gomes platoon in right and left field respectively. However, friendly competition is a good thing and there’s always the chance that Sizemore becomes that high-level offensive acquisition that could really put the Red Sox over the top.