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Grady Sizemore is hoping to be ready by Opening Day

Jan 17, 2011, 11:39 AM EDT

Grady Sizemore AP

Indians’ center fielder Grady Sizemore had microfracture surgery last June and lost the season. The hope at the time was that he’d be ready for spring training. Buster Olney caught up with Sizemore and writes about it in today’s column.  Sizemore is just now starting to hit off a tee and easing into running.  The thinking now — still optimistic — is that he’ll be good to go by Opening Day.  Buster wonders what happens if Sizemore returns to form:

If Sizemore comes back and is a star again, a whole lot of logical questions will follow: Because Sizemore’s current contract has a 2012 option for $8.5 million, would it make sense for the Indians to pick up the option? Would it make sense for them to trade him, in their effort to rebuild their pitching?

Is there a single thing the Indians have done in the past two years that makes you think that they’d pick up Sizemore’s option, regardless of how he plays? If he’s great they’ll try to trade him.  If they can’t trade him, they’ll decline the option. Sizemore isn’t going to make the current Indians squad into a winner on his own. He’s popular, but not so much so that he’s going to double attendance or anything.

At a time when the Tribe has a free agent budget of less than $2 million, as was reported last week, they will almost certainly do anything they can to avoid paying $8 million to someone in 2012.

  1. bigtrav425 - Jan 17, 2011 at 12:55 PM

    Trade him..He is nothing more then a 5 hitter with speed….not a corner stone player at all…Im a tribe fan and he isnt gonna make that big a difference in our record

  2. tolbuck - Jan 17, 2011 at 1:18 PM

    The option becomes a player option if he is traded. If he has a successful comeback, it increases the odds he would decline the option if traded, which in turn decreases what the Tribe can get for him. The best case scenario for the Tribe may be for Sizemore to stink up the joint so they can decline the option, which is for $9 million (did Olney do any research on Sizemore’s contract?), without alienating the remaining fan base.

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Jan 17, 2011 at 1:40 PM

      That’s a gamechanger right there; that player option. Even if he starts off amazing in 2011, will any team want to risk having him on their roster for 2012 too?

  3. Lukehart80 - Jan 17, 2011 at 2:57 PM

    By both fWAR and bWAR, Sizemore was one of the five best players in baseball from 2005-2008. I know he’s two and a half years removed from that now, but the notion that he couldn’t be incredibly valuable at $8.5M is silly. Being an Indians’ fan has made me a great sports’ pessimist, so I’m not holding my breath for a return to form, but if he’s healthy, anywhere near his previous form, and the Tribe is unwilling to pay him that $8.5M, they should just fold now and let their fans get a head-start on finding other things to root for.

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