As recently as three weeks ago Grady Sizemore seemed optimistic about returning from the disabled list in early June, but as has so often been the case with the former star setbacks have squashed those plans.
In updating Sizemore’s status yesterday manager Manny Acta admitted that the center fielder is nowhere close to returning from knee and back surgeries because he hasn’t been cleared to run the bases yet and there isn’t even a timetable for him to begin a minor-league rehab assignment.
Sizemore expressed his understandable frustration to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
I’m beyond being anxious or frustrated. I can’t even explain it. It’s almost feels like a part of you is missing. I’ve learned that rushing and trying to get back as soon as possible didn’t work. I tried that last year and I just ended up putting myself in a worse position. That’s why we’re taking it slow now. That’s why it’s important to not just feel good, but to feel really good, to feel great.
Michael Brantley has played well shifting to center field in Sizemore’s absence, but the Indians investing $5 million to re-sign the oft-injured 29-year-old is looking more and more like a sunk cost.
Confirming a report from Tuesday, the Diamondbacks officially signed right-hander Fernando Rodney to a one-year, $2.75 million contract on Friday. The 39-year-old stands to receive up to $4 million in incentives, per Jack MacGruder of FanRag Sports, with $250,000 kicking in when the veteran reaches 40, 50 and 60 appearances and $500,000 if he reaches 70.
Rodney came three games shy of the 70-appearance mark in 2016 during back-to-back stints with the Padres and Marlins. He put up a cumulative 3.44 ERA on the year, which effectively disguised the extreme split during his performances in San Diego and Miami. The Diamondbacks aren’t anywhere close to contending in 2017, but Rodney should stabilize the back end of their bullpen while providing Arizona GM Mike Hazen with a potential trade chip during next year’s deadline.
Hazen issued a statement following the signing:
With Fernando, we’re getting an established Major League closer and a veteran presence in the bullpen. It is helpful to have someone with his experience on the back end to slow the game down and get the final three outs.
The Cardinals have officially signed outfielder Dexter Fowler to a five-year, $82.5 million contract. Fowler will also get a full no-trade clause.
The Cardinals gave Fowler a bigger deal than many speculated he’d get, as some reports predicted he’d get something in the $52-72 million range. His skills, however — he’s a fantastic leadoff hitter who plays a premium defensive position — definitely earned him some major dough. Fowler hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 homers, 48 RBI and 13 steals over 125 games in 2016 for the World Series champion Cubs.
For the Cardinals, this will allow Matt Carpenter to move down to the middle of the batting order and will shift Randal Grichuk to left field. It also takes a prime piece from the Cardinals’ biggest rival. For their part, earlier this offseason the Cubs signed former Cardinal center fielder Jon Jay. So that’s fun.