Are Grady Sizemore's days in Cleveland finished?
Grady Sizemore, once a fan favorite and All-Star in Cleveland, has become an expensive injury ridden player for the Indians that they strictly cannot afford to keep around. The money that the Indians would be using to keep Sizemore in Cleveland would be better used to bring in or keep another player who the Indians know could help them next season.
Over the last three seasons Sizemore has played in a very miniscule 104 games for the Indians, including missing the entire 2012 season. Having appeared to be on a road to recovery, Sizemore's injury was deemed serious enough to keep him out for the entire 2012 season. The Indians were hopeful when they signed him to a $5 million one-year deal last season that he would be able to play and regain All-Star form during 2012. As mentioned that was never the case.
While it is never easy for a team to cut ties with a player who has meant as much to the them and the city as Sizemore, it's something the Indians need to do. Re-signing Sizemore would mean pledging another $5 million to a player who might not play all season. Sizemore has missed more games over the course of the last three seasons than he has actually played.
Even though the potential upside to a healthy Grady Sizemore, if he can return to his All-Pro form, is great the risk of having Sizemore spend another season on the DL is too much for the Indians. One way for Indians fans who are struggling with the concept of letting a former fan favorite and face of the franchise go is to ask themselves these questions.
What if Sizemore had spent the rest of his career elsewhere? How would you feel if your team went out and signed him? Are the Indians paying Sizemore for what he CAN do or for what he HAS done?
For the amount of money that Sizemore will want from the Indians they would be better off spending the money to fill other holes on the roster. The Indians will not be relying on someone without experience to fill the gap left by Sizemore since Michael Brantley filled in at Center Field for Sizemore all year and did a respectable job doing so.
Brantley might not be the franchise player that the Indians once thought they had in Grady Sizemore but he brings experience to the table and that for the time being is valuable. While the Indians try to retool and put themselves to make the playoffs next season they need to cut ties with Sizemore.
In the long run it may be painful for Indians fans to see Sizemore in another uniform, if he plays again, but it is a choice that the Indians need to make. The uncertainty surrounding Sizemore is too great for the Indians to take another gamble this season.