The Grady Sizemore All-Stars: Best Red Sox scrap heap bargains of the last 20 years

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Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

With Opening Day just a few days away, Grady Sizemore is poised to come north with the Boston Red Sox. It’s a great story: a former All-Star, signed to an incentive-laden $750,000 contract, hasn’t played in the Majors for two years and now appears to have penciled himself in as the team’s starting center fielder. He’s a true “scrap heap” find.

Yesterday, Paul Prims profiled Nick Esasky’s 1989 season. Esasky thrived in his lone campaign with Boston after struggling for years to find at-bats under Pete Rose in Cincinnati. He was another gem.

With these examples in mind, I bring you the Grady Sizemore All-Stars — the greatest Red Sox scrap heap pickups of the last 20 years.

What’s the criteria?

1. No pitchers. This list is for position players. The Bret Saberhagen All-Stars will be profiled in a future post.

2. The player must be “somebody.” Maybe he was an All-Star.  A Gold Glover. A former Rookie of the Year. A guy who was once an everyday player. A prospect who can’t catch a break.

3. The player must be on the scrap heap. Either:

a) unwanted — waived and/or looking at a steep pay cut,

b) coming back from injury, or

c) returning from the minors, an independent league, a foreign country, or being out of baseball altogether.

Those are the rules. And now, the starting nine…