The Red Sox agreed on a contract with the 31-year-old former Cleveland Indians standout on Wednesday, Jan. 22:
#RedSox sign OF Grady Sizemore to One-Year Contract; RHP Brayan Villarreal Designated for Assignment.— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) January 23, 2014
The deal is heavy on incentives in the event that the acquisition doesn't work out, per WEEI.com's Rob Bradford:
Sizemore has base of $750K with incentives that can push up to $6 million with Red Sox— Rob Bradford (@bradfo) January 22, 2014
How do you feel about the Grady Sizemore signing?
Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal provides Ben Cherington's thoughts on the signing:
"Everyone here knows who he was when he was in his prime, in that peak period he had with Cleveland," Cherington said. "That player fits on any team -- including ours, certainly. What we need to learn from spring training -- and what he needs to learn -- is getting back into everyday baseball. That will tell us what makes sense for him and for us. But we're not going to put any limitation on it. We see a lot of potential there."
In Boston, Sizemore must prove he is somewhat capable of being the player he once was. Injuries derailed his promising career, with microfracture surgeries on both knees holding back his unique athleticism on the basepaths and in the outfield.
CBSsports.com's Mike Axisa reports that Sizemore has undergone seven surgeries since 2009 alone, and notes that the hobbled veteran is likely to back up promising prospect Jackie Bradley Jr.
With Jacoby Ellsbury having left this offseason as a free agent to sign with the American League East archrival New York Yankees, it makes sense that the Red Sox sought depth and insurance at center field.
Even before the signing of Sizemore, manager John Farrell expressed optimism for the 2014 season with the players at his disposal, per the team's official Twitter account:
Farrell: I like our team. We may still add, but if we start 3/31 like this, I like where we're at. Returning core proven, depth on mound.— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) January 22, 2014
Sizemore enjoyed a flourishing peak as a member of the Indians from 2006 to 2008. In that span, he was selected to the All-Star team each year and won two Gold Glove Awards.
He led the American League in runs scored (134) and doubles (53) in the first season of that stretch, and posted career-best totals in home runs (33), RBI (90) and stolen bases (38) in 2008—joining the prestigious 30-30 club.
If he is anywhere near the all-around force he once was, Sizemore's addition to the Red Sox could be a big score for all involved.