Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
The signing of Grady Sizemore in late January was an intriguing move at the time due to the potential that a fully healthy Sizemore could bring to the table. After nearly two months of Sizemore’s recovery process, starting with his impressive workouts and continuing with his impressive in-game performance, it’s starting to look like that move could soon pay major dividends.
Sizemore was expected to compete for the fourth or fifth outfield job– the 25th man on the roster, in other words. However, he has legitimately impressed Red Sox coaches and looks like he could even be in line for the starting center field job. Though spring performances are rarely reflective of any future performance, Sizemore has been better than prospect Jackie Bradley Jr., the other main candidate for the job, as his .308/.357/.308 slash line (14 plate appearances) is superior to Bradley’s .208/.296/.333 (27 plate appearances).
Health-wise, Sizemore has been great so far and took another big step forward today. For the first time this spring, the 31 year old started in center field on back-to-back days. Sizemore had some words about this momentous occasion in his return to Major League Baseball.
"“I wasn’t all that curious about it,” Sizemore said of playing back-to-back. “I felt confident knowing it was going to be a pretty normal day. If I had any questions or doubts, I probably wouldn’t have been out there. But I felt strong that it was going to be fine and it wasn’t going to be an issue.”"
Sizemore went on to say…
"“I feel good, but not great. My timing feels off,” Sizemore said. “It feels a little rusty, but I don’t feel like it’s been two or three years. I feel like it’s just another Spring Training where it’s early where you’re just trying to get a hold of things and get that rhythm down. I still feel like I have a long way to go. It’s not quite where I would like it to be and I want to fine-tune some things.”"
Obviously, after two years completely removed from the major leagues, anybody would be a bit rusty. However, Sizemore seems to be progressing well and this looks like a potential impact signing by the Red Sox. Even if he never really figures it out in 2014, the signing is for so little ($750K, with the potential for that figure to rise to $6MM with incentives), that there’s very little risk. The reward, as Sizemore has indicated so far, could be astronomical though.