Grady Sizemore Rumors

Quick Hits: Sizemore, Tanaka

Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs took a stab at evaluating Grady Sizemore, who signed yesterday with the Red Sox, but ultimately concludes that there is too much uncertainty to make a projection reasonable. Here are some more notes on Sizemore and another notable signing from yesterday:

  • The Reds offered a big league deal to Grady Sizemore and expected to land him, tweets Mark Sheldon of MLB.com. "He changed his mind," GM Walt Jocketty told Sheldon.
  • Discussing his decision to sign with the Yankees, Masahiro Tanaka expressed excitement with joining the game's most historically prominent club, the Associated Press reports (via the New York Times; video available via MLB.com). "They gave me the highest evaluation and are a world famous team," said Tanaka, who said his goal is to win a World Series in pinstripes. 
  • One oft-mentioned concern with Tanaka was his heavy usage in Japan. Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker posted Tanaka's actual pitch counts from last season, which he found in an Isao Chiba article from Shukan Baseball. Last year, the hurler threw 2,981 pitches over over 211 innings in 27 starts, or 109.7 pitches per start last year. (He also threw one inning in relief.) For reference, Clayton Kershaw — who is less than a year older than Tanaka — has exceeded 3,000 pitches in each of the last five seasons (last year, 3,428) while averaging around 104 to 105 pitches per start in his last four campaigns.
  • The Cubs' final offer to Masahiro Tanaka was for six years and $120MM, a source tells Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com (Twitter link). That amount does not include the $20MM release fee. 
  • Chicago was competitive in terms of years and dollars, a source tells David Kaplan of CSN Chicago and WGN Radio (Twitter link), but the Cubs refused to include an opt-out after four years. That position certainly seems to make sense from the perspective of the rebuilding Cubs, especially, since much of the allure of Tanaka is in his ability to deliver value at the back end of his contract.

Quick Hits: Rauch, O’Flaherty, Betancourt, Coffey

Jon Rauch is close to signing with a team, MLBTR's Zach Links reports (Twitter link).  The 35-year-old posted a 7.56 ERA in 16 2/3 IP with the Marlins last season and also made 10 appearances for the Orioles' Triple-A affiliate after signing a minor league contract with the O's in June.  Despite his outlier of a 2013 season, Rauch has been a solid right-handed bullpen arm for much of his career, posting a 3.65 ERA, 2.79 K/BB and 7.2 K/9 over 549 2/3 IP from 2004-2012.

Here's some more news as we wrap up a busy Wednesday around baseball…

  • The Braves only offered Eric O'Flaherty a one-year contract to remain with the team, David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (via Twitter).  Though O'Flaherty underwent Tommy John surgery last May and will miss at least part of the 2014 season, he still scored a two-year, $7MM deal from the A's earlier today.
  • Yuniesky Betancourt will decide on his new club within the week, MLB Daily Dish's Chris Cotillo reports (Twitter link).  Betancourt was drawing interest from several teams, potentially even as a starter.
  • Also from Cotillo, there is "strong interest" in right-hander Todd Coffey.  At least nine of the 14 teams who attended Coffey's throwing session last week want to see his second session.  Coffey is looking to return to action after missing all of 2013 recovering from Tommy John surgery.
  • Much of the Indians' success at the plate last season was due to their lineup flexibility and use of bench players, a trait that MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince believes could be somewhat difficult to duplicate in 2014, though Carlos Santana's proposed attempt to play third base would be a great help in that department.
  • The Twins didn't have any interest in Grady Sizemore this winter, though the club checked in on him last summer, 1500 ESPN's Darren Wolfson reports (via Twitter).
  • "Another issue with a physical does nothing to enhance the Orioles' reputation in the industry, which is taking a two-fisted beating this winter," Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com writes in regards to the news that Baltimore's agreement with Tyler Colvin has been delayed due to a problem with the outfielder's physical.  Kubatko wonders if the O's could be trying to get Colvin to sign a minor league contract instead of a Major League deal, as the club did last offseason when it wasn't satisifed with Jair Jurrjens' physical.
  • The Phillies liked Masahiro Tanaka and engaged in "cursory negotiations" with his representatives, but GM Ruben Amaro told Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer that the team wasn't prepared to go beyond five years to sign the Japanese righty.  The Phillies seem likely to go into 2014 with their current pitching options, as they only would've exceeded their payroll limitations for "an exception" like Tanaka.

Grady Sizemore Eager To Get Back To Baseball

Earlier tonight, the Red Sox agreed to sign Grady Sizemore to a one-year, $750K deal that could balloon to $6MM if he reaches all of his incentives.  The three-time All-Star was once the face of the Indians franchise but thanks to some unfortunate injuries, he hasn't been on the field since 2011.  Sizemore finally felt ready to come back and multiple teams came calling this winter when Sizemore's reps at CAA Sports put out word that their client was healthy and ready to return to baseball.  The Reds, in fact, seemed right on the cusp of inking him to a contract until earlier today, when GM Walt Jocketty said in a radio interview that a deal wouldn't be happening.  However, when I asked Sizemore how close he was to donning a Reds jersey, he downplayed the seriousness of that talk.

"Honestly, I was talking with multiple teams and I was kind of exploring every option that I could," Sizemore said on this evening's conference call. "In the end, I thought the Red Sox gave me the best opportunity to succeed and that's why I went with these guys."

The Red Sox, Sizemore said, have been talking to him since the start of the offseason, but things truly ramped up in the last "two or three weeks."  I asked Sizemore what made the Red Sox the most attractive option of any club and he explained that his familiarity with a few members of the Boston staff coupled with the medical game plan that they laid out for him made them the winner.

One might assume that the opportunity to play center field appealed to Sizemore but he says that he didn't have a positional preference, just a desire to get significant playing time.  More than anything, Sizemore sounds like a player who is thrilled to finally be on the path back to MLB. 

"It's been frustrating.  No one likes to deal with injuries and I've had my fair share.  Hopefully that's behind me now.  I'm just looking forward to moving on and starting the second half of my career."



Red Sox To Sign Grady Sizemore

The Red Sox have officially reached agreement on a one-year, $750K MLB contract with outfielder Grady Sizemore, reports Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. Sizemore, 31, is represented by CAA Sports. The deal includes significant incentives based on both plate appearances and the number of days Sizemore appears on the Sox roster, Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald reports (Twitter links).  Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (Twitter link) that the deal could reach $6MM if all are met.

Once one of the game's brightest stars, Sizemore has not played since 2011 due to a variety of injury issues, including microfracture surgery on his knee as well as operations on his back and a sports hernia. Over the 2005-09 time frame, Sizmore put up an excellent .276/.368/.488 line (with 125 home runs and 128 steals) while playing outstanding center field defense. That made him the fifth most valuable position player in the game over that time, according to Fangraphs, which values him at 28.7 fWAR over that stretch. Over 2010-11, however, Sizemore only saw a total of 435 plate appearances and posted a meager .220/.280/.379 triple-slash.

For a Red Sox team that saw longtime center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury leave via free agency, Sizemore represents an interesting option. Boston had figured to go forward with top prospect Jackie Bradley Jr. as the starter, and the team also controls another player with substantial center field experience in Shane Victorino. But Sizemore brings both depth and upside to the table, and is expected to compete with Bradley for the center field job over the spring, tweets Alex Speier of WEEI.com.

If the Sox decide at some point to give active roster spots to Sizemore and Bradley (both lefties), fellow lefty Mike Carp (already the subject of trade speculation) could end up as trade bait. Of course, given Sizemore's injury history and long layoff — not to mention Bradley's own inexperience — the Sox could wait to see how things play out in Spring Training before making any other moves. 


Reds Will Not Sign Grady Sizemore

2:03pm: Sizemore appears to be set to sign with a club other than Cincinnati, a source tells MLB.com's Mark Sheldon.

WEDNESDAY, 1:32pm: In a radio appearance on 1450 ESPN in Cincinnati, Jocketty stated that "things have changed" and the Reds will not sign Sizemore (Twitter link).

SUNDAY, 4:19pm: "Some details have to be worked out," Jocketty told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer. "We hope to get something done next week." Jocketty also told Fay both Major League and minor league deals have been discussed with Sizemore.

2:53pm:The Reds are in advanced talks with outfielder Grady Sizemore, sources tell Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (via Twitter). The sources, however, caution other teams are involved and the 31-year-old free agent could go in a different direction.

This is not the first time the Reds have been linked to the three-time All-Star, who hasn't played since 2011 because of microfracture surgery on his right knee and back and sports hernia operations. Earlier this month, Reds GM Walt Jocketty told MLB.com's Mark Sheldon he believes Sizemore is healthy enough to resume his career and acknowledged there has been talks with his representatives.

Sizemore slashed .281/.372/.496 with 107 home runs and 115 steals from 2005-08 winning a pair of Gold Gloves and a Silver Slugger. He missed only nine games over the course of that four-year run, but has appeared in only 210 games since posting a line of .234/.314/.413.

Sizemore would provide insurance for the Reds, who plan on starting rookie Billy Hamilton in center after losing Shin-Soo Choo to free agency. The Astros have also been connected to the Joe Urbon client this winter while the Twins were interested but have since moved on.


Reds Unlikely To Make Big Moves

The Reds are unlikely to make any splashy moves this offseason, John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. "It’s been very quiet," says GM Walt Jocketty. "I haven’t had one discussion with another team or an agent. That could change next week. But I think if we do anything, it will probably be a smaller type of deal." Fay notes that the Reds have no, or almost no, money left in their budget.

That means that the Reds are unlikely to re-sign Bronson Arroyo, and it also means they won't pursue higher-end free agents like Nelson Cruz and Stephen Drew, about whom Jocketty flatly says, "We don’t have the money."

One player the Reds could end up getting is former star Indians outfielder Grady Sizemore, MLB.com's Mark Sheldon reports. "We have [talked]," says Jocketty. "I'm not sure where that is right now. With the holidays, not much has happened." Due to injury trouble, Sizemore has not played since 2011, so if the Reds were to sign him, it would almost certainly be a minor-league deal.


West Notes: Gutierrez, Young, Morse, Sizemore, Cruz

Here are some quick notes from around the West divisions:

  • The Mariners have interest in re-signing outfielder Franklin Gutierrez, likely to a one-year, incentive-based deal, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times writes. (Twitter links).
  • M's GM Jack Zduriencik also says the Mariners might attempt to improve their outfield via trades, Divish tweets.
  • The Dodgers are discussing Michael Young as a possible option in their infield, Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times writes (via Twitter).
  • Mike Morse wants $7MM or $8MM on a one-year contract, ESPN's Buster Olney tweets. That seems to be a lot to pay a player who hit .215/.270/.381 with poor defense last season. The Astros are reportedly among the teams interested in Morse.
  • The Astros have also recently spoken with representatives of outfielder Grady Sizemore, MLB.com's Brian McTaggart writes (via Twitter). Sizemore, 31, last played in the big leagues in 2011.
  • The Rockies are interested in both Morse and Young, the Denver Post's Troy Renck tweets.
  • Now that the Mark Trumbo trade is complete, the Angels are likely to keep second baseman Howie Kendrick, MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez tweets.
  • Giants GM Brian Sabean says that if infielder Pablo Sandoval comes to spring training in good shape, the Giants would consider signing Sandoval to an extension, MLB.com's Chris Haft tweets.
  • Rangers GM Jon Daniels says free-agent outfielder Nelson Cruz doesn't owe the Rangers special consideration despite missing 50 games in 2013 after being suspended, reports ESPN's Richard Durrett. "He had a decision to make," says Daniels. "[W]e all understood the position he was in. I can’t speak for everybody, but I don’t view it that way. I don’t think he owes us." Cruz could have appealed his suspension and continued to play for the Rangers last season, but he chose not to.
  • If the Diamondbacks are unable to trade for a pitcher, they could pursue Matt Garza, MLB.com's Steve Gilbert tweets.

AL Central Links: Twins, Sizemore, Anderson, Santiago

Baseball America's Matt Eddy provided a breakdown of the minor trade that went down earlier in the week that saw the Twins ship Duke Welker back to the Pirates in exchange for Kris Johnson. Johnson has an above-average two- and four-seam fastball that sits in the low 90s, but his breaking pitches are average at best, says Eddy. One bonus for the Twins is that Johnson has three minor league options remaining, while Welker has just one. Here's more on the Twins and the rest of the AL Central…

  • The Twins were interested in free agent/reclamation project Grady Sizemore at one point, but they've moved on from Sizemore, according to Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN (Twitter link).
  • ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that the Royals have had internal discussions about acquiring Brett Anderson from the Athletics. An Anderson acquisition would be a somewhat similar move to GM Dayton Moore's decision to buy low on Ervin Santana in a trade last October. Unlike Santana, however, the Royals could control Anderson for two years, as his contract contains a $12MM option for 2015.
  • White Sox southpaw Hector Santiago told the Chicago Tribune's Colleen Kane that the summer trades of Jake Peavy and Matt Thornton taught him that any player can get traded. Santiago said he tries not to worry about hearing his name in rumors. He added that he hopes Chicago's decision to shut him down after 130 innings is an indication that they're protecting his arm so he can throw 200 innings in 2014.
  • The Indians will listen to offers on Asdrubal Cabrera this winter, writes Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer in his latest mailbag. Hoynes adds that any trading the team does will likely prioritize getting pitching in return, and the team would like to add a free agent starting pitcher. Hoynes lists Bartolo Colon and Jake Westbrook as speculative possibilities.

Cafardo On Ruiz, Napoli, Hudson, Sizemore

In today's column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes that there are several top teams that will have surpluses in certain areas this offseason that will be second guessing whatever move they make.  In the case of the Dodgers, they have four strong outfielders in Matt Kemp, Yasiel Puig, Andre Ethier, and Carl Crawford.  One would imagine that Ethier, who is frequently in trade rumors, would be the one to go, but GM Ned Colletti could also give some thought to dealing Kemp if the right offer comes along.  Here's more from today's column..

  • After bouncing back from a slow start, catcher Carlos Ruiz is desirable again and the Phillies are more enthused about the idea of re-signing him.  That may prove to be difficult once Ruiz gets to the open market as he’d be a cheaper alternative to Brian McCann or Jarrod Saltalamacchia and more consistent than Dioner Navarro.
  • According to Mike Napoli's agent Brian Grieper, there still haven't been contract talks with the Red Sox.  It appears they will play it out and decide about a qualifying offer.  One possibility is that they put Xander Bogaerts at third and Will Middlebrooks at first, taking Napoli out of the equation.
  • Tim Hudson, 38, wants to return from the ankle fracture he suffered in July.  Hudson, who should cleared for baseball activities by mid-December, will be a free agent but wants to stay in Atlanta.  It'll come down to the money for the veteran, who earned $9MM this season.
  • Grady Sizemore tried to get back playing this season, but he needs more time for his knees to heal. He'll likely be ready for a major league camp next spring and work out for teams this offseason to show he’s healthy.  If he looks OK, he’ll probably get a few teams interested.
  • Some still believe that it was a mistake for the Angels to only pay Mike Trout $510K this season and that he won't forget it when it comes time to work out a new deal with the club.

Grady Sizemore Likely To Sign In Offseason

Former Indians center fielder Grady Sizemore has remained in touch with multiple clubs and is likely to sign with one in the offseason, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). A series of major surgeries on Sizemore's knee, back and elbow have slowed what looked to be one of the most promising careers in baseball a few years ago.

Sizemore, who recently turned 31, hit .281/.372/.496 with 107 homers and 115 steals from 2005-08 — his age 22-25 seasons — earning three straight All-Star selections, a pair of Gold Gloves and a Silver Slugger. He missed only nine games over the course of that four-year run, but he's played in just 210 games since, hitting .234/.314/.413.

This past offseason, Sizemore stated that he would wait until he was ready to participate in games to sign with a club. He hasn't appeared in the Majors since 2011, but considering the fact that he's still just 31 and will likely receive a minor league deal, I'd imagine a significant number of teams will be in touch with Sizemore's agent, Joe Urbon of CAA Sports. Sizemore was connected to the Mets back in December, and more recent reports indicated that the Twins would be interested as well.


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