MLB Free Agents 2012: 10 Teams That Would Be Interested in Grady Sizemore
Sizemore has missed more games (276) than he's played (210) over the past three seasons, and the Indians weren't willing to bet $9 million that the trend would change in 2012.
At his peak, Sizemore has been one of the best players in baseball.
He's a three-time All Star and has finished in the top 25 of MVP voting four times.
The questions that teams will be asking themselves are whether his recent lack of production is the result of the injuries and whether those injuries will stop happening.
Here are 10 teams that I envision making a play for Sizemore during free agency along with the probability of each team actually signing him.
San Francisco Giants: 25 Percent
The Giants don't just need one outfielder; they need three. With Carlos Beltran a free agent, that leaves Cody Ross, Andres Torres, Aaron Rowand and Nate Schierholtz. Those four are simply an embarrassment to the word "mediocrity."
The Giants have the money to spend and definitely have a need.
This would be a great place for Sizemore, and it would put him on a contender immediately.
Seattle Mariners: 25 Percent
Sizemore was born in Seattle, and Mariners manager Eric Wedge used to be the Indians manager. Sizemore obviously has ties to the area still, and the Mariners certainly have needs in the outfield.
Former Indian outfielder Franklin Gutierrez is the current Mariners center fielder, and his .261 OBP leaves plenty to be desired.
Sizemore would be an automatic upgrade and a natural fit in this offense.
Atlanta Braves: 11 Percent
I'm giving the Braves the extra one percent advantage over the next three teams because they are a playoff-caliber team and are known to spend money when necessary.
Most expect Sizemore to be willing to switch positions next year, and the Braves could easily move him into left field to replace Martin Prado.
Prado is the likely replacement for Chipper Jones at third base when he retires, and this would free him up to play a number of positions when the situations arise.
Michael Bourn and Sizemore at the top of the lineup could be a lethal combination.
Cincinnati Reds: 10 Percent
As a Cincinnati Reds fan, I would be absolutely ecstatic to see the Reds open up their wallets and bring in Sizemore.
They have a glaring hole in left field that he could surely fill, but I wouldn't have any problem if they put him in center field and just benched Drew Stubbs either.
Stubbs struck out 205 times last year. That's a staggering number, and it's not in line with the spirit of this "new" Cincinnati Reds team.
That's the old team with Adam Dunn, Austin Kearns and Edwin Encarnacion.
Sizemore would have the ability to play every day in Cincinnati and could be the leadoff man we've been in search of since the days of Pete Rose.
Chicago Cubs: 10 Percent
Theo Epstein has his work cut out for him. The Cubs have a complete lack of talent throughout their roster, and Sizemore could be a cheap gamble with a high risk/reward ratio.
If he returns to his former self, then his style of play would make him an automatic fan favorite.
Washington Nationals: 10 Percent
The Washington Nationals have been known to spend money in the offseason, and Sizemore shouldn't cost them anything near what Jayson Werth did.
Rick Ankiel is the current center fielder, and Laynce Nix and Jonny Gomes are in left. Needless to say, they could use some outfield help.
While they could be willing to spend the money, it's possible that Sizemore won't find losing 80 to 95 games in 2012 an appealing option.
Boston Red Sox: Five Percent
The Red Sox need a right fielder, and adding Sizemore to the lineup could give them a potentially explosive combination of Carl Crawford, Jacoby Ellsbury and Sizemore.
While they couldn't bat 1-2-3, they would likely bat one of them in the ninth spot to help turn the lineup over easier. Thus, you could see Sizemore (9), Crawford (1) and Ellsbury (2) on the bases ahead of Dustin Pedroia, Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Youkilis.
This is certainly the best big-market option for Sizemore with the only drawback being the move to right field.
Toronto Blue Jays: Two Percent
The Blue Jays have plenty of holes in the outfield, and a current depth chart shows Dewayne Wise as their center fielder.
That's not a good sign.
They will need to upgrade in the offseason, and Sizemore would be a great fit in an explosive lineup.
The problem with Toronto is that it plays in the AL East, which means you have 40 games with the rotations of the Red Sox, Yankees and Rays. If Sizemore signs a short-term contract in hopes that he can prove he's healthy and secure a long-term contract, then he'll want to avoid the Blue Jays to help inflate his numbers a bit for pending free agency.
Los Angeles Dodgers: One Percent
New York Mets: One Percent
I would normally rate this one higher, but I'm getting a strong suspicion that the Mets are about to break the team down and rebuild. If they allow Jose Reyes to walk and then trade David Wright, then they are essentially giving up in 2012 and looking at 2014 or beyond.
If that happens, then they obviously won't sign Sizemore. However, if they bring Reyes back and make a commitment for 2012, then I think he would be a perfect upgrade over Angel Pagan in center field.
If Sizemore is healthy, he would automatically become a fan favorite and then be in line for a big contract extension from a team with deep pockets.