Grady Sizemore’s bad knees caused him to miss the entire season, providing zero return on the Indians’ $5 million investment, but at age 30 he’s not ready to call it a career.
Sizemore’s agent, Joe Urbon, told Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer that “Grady is working his way back” and “the plan is to play next year.”
Urbon suggested that Sizemore “pushed too hard to try and come back” and will benefit from a full offseason of rest, but at this point it’s hard to imagine any team giving the free agent more than an incentive-laden one-year deal and settling for a minor-league contract wouldn’t be surprising.
Sizemore hasn’t been healthy and effective since 2009, missing 382 of a possible 486 games since then while hitting .220, and his days of playing center field are obviously over.
The Dodgers have pulled off their first blockbuster trade of the offseason, sending Brandon McCarthy, Scott Kazmir, Charlie Culberson, Adrian Gonzalez and cash considerations to the Braves for Matt Kemp, per announcements from both teams. The Braves are set to designate Gonzalez for assignment on Monday, making him a free agent.
Kemp, 33, had a down year with the Braves in 2017, hitting a career-low -0.5 fWAR in 115 games with the club. At the plate, he slashed a modest .276/.318/.463 with 19 home runs and a .781 OPS through 467 plate appearances, but was hampered by a nagging left hamstring strain through most of the season. This will be his 10th campaign with the Dodgers.
Whether or not Kemp can rebound during his second stint in Los Angeles is almost beside the point, however. The deal is effectively a salary dump to end all salary dumps. Offloading multiple one-year contracts for McCarthy, Kazmir and Gonzalez should bring the Dodgers back under the $197 million luxury tax threshold and position them to make a run at some of the big fish in next year’s free agent pool. It’s also worth noting that they may not keep Kemp around for long — per Ken Gurnick of MLB.com, the club appears as likely to flip the veteran outfielder as they are to use him. As for the Braves, they not only rid themselves of the $43 million due Kemp through 2020, but added some rotation and infield depth with McCarthy and Culberson and can now give top prospect Ronald Acuna a legitimate tryout in left field.