Grady Sizemore hasn't appeared in a major league game since Sept. 22, 2011 and hasn't topped 71 games in a season since 2009 due to a myriad of injuries, but that didn't stop the Boston Red Sox from signing the now 31-year-old outfielder to a guaranteed major league deal on Wednesday.
Rob Bradford of WEEI was the first to report the deal was in place. He also notes the contract will include over $5 million in incentives.
Sizemore has base of $750K with incentives that can push up to $6 million with Red Sox
— Rob Bradford (@bradfo) January 22, 2014
You can bet the deal includes several escalators for games played and plate appearances.
The biggest concern for Sizemore as he enters the 2014 season will be the condition of his right knee. In September of 2012, Sizemore underwent microfracture surgery and spent the entire 2013 out of baseball rehabbing and strengthening the knee. No setbacks have been reported, so it appears the knee is as healthy as can reasonably be expected. Now the Red Sox will hope he's healthy enough to be a part their of outfield rotation and replace some of the production lost when Jacoby Ellsbury signed with the New York Yankees.
Complicating matters is the fact Sizemore has also undergone six other operations dating back to 2009. In 2009, Sizemore had his left elbow cleaned up and a sports hernia operation. In 2010, he underwent surgery on his left knee. In 2011 there was another sports hernia operation and an initial clean up of his right knee. Then in 2012 he had surgery on his lower back preceding the microfracture operation.
That's a pretty heavy toll and a lot to overcome in a relatively short period of time.
Obviously it's an extreme long shot that Sizemore can be the same guy who averaged 27 home runs and 81 RBIs between 2005-2008, but the Red Sox don't necessarily need that. They would probably take 90-100 games with half those numbers and be very happy with it
If Sizemore doesn't break camp with the team or falls well short of those numbers, even on a major league deal Boston doesn't lose a lot by only guaranteeing $750,000. It's low-risk/high-reward contract for them, and it's the same for Sizemore as he's guaranteed to have a fair opportunity to prove to himself and his new team that's he healthy and still capable. That's all he can ask for at this stage in his career.
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