Free agent Grady Sizemore underwent microfracture surgery on his right knee in September, his agent told MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince on Monday, and he’s expected to be sidelined for at least the first half of next season.
Sizemore already underwent microfracture surgery on his left knee in 2010. The latest procedure would seem to bode particularly ill for his chances of re-emerging as a starting outfielder in the majors.
Sizemore dealt with right knee pain throughout the 2011 and 2012 seasons, and he considered microfracture surgery a year ago before deciding on a less intense procedure that did him little good. He never played a game for the Indians after they re-signed him to a one-year, $5 million contract last winter.
The 30-year-old Sizemore was one of the American League’s best players from 2005-08 before dealing with injuries. He played in 106 games in 2009, 33 in 2010 and 71 in 2011 before missing last season.
The Phillies, having already missed out on B.J. Upton, Angel Pagan and Denard Span as possibilities for center field, have talked to the Rockies about Dexter Fowler, FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal reports.
The Rockies don’t need to move Fowler, who is due about $5 million in arbitration next year, but they’re open to the possibility if it gets them back some quality pitching. Vance Worley’s name would certainly come up in any talks between the two teams. More available is Tyler Cloyd, who was nearly shipped off to Houston for reliever Wilton Lopez last week.
The 26-year-old Fowler hit .300/.389/.474 with 13 homers and 12 steals in 454 at-bats last season. He’s a career .271/.364/.427 hitter, but much of his production has come at Coors Field. He’s a lifetime .295/.395/.487 hitter at home, compared to .248/.331/.367 on the road.
It’s about time that somebody did.
Cody Ross is getting all kinds of hits — the latest coming from the Yankees — after batting .267/.326/.481 with 22 homers and 81 RBI in 476 at-bats for the Red Sox last season. The market for Ryan Ludwick, on the other hand, has been very quiet, even though he came in at .275/.346/.531 with 26 homers and 80 RBI in 422 at-bats for the Reds last season.
Of course, Ludwick isn’t known for his consistency. Still, he matches up just fine with Ross over the last three years. He has a 107 OPS+ during that span, while Ross is at 105.
The other thing working in Ludwick’s favor is that he has a big edge over Ross against right-handed pitchers. Ludwick hit .280/.340/.513 against righties in 2012, compared to .256/.308/.422 for Ross. Lifetime, Ludwick has an .811 OPS against righties and a .774 OPS against lefties. Ross has a .727 OPS against righties and a .928 OPS against lefties.
There are reasons to prefer Ross. One is that he’s almost 2 1/2 years younger. He’s also probably the better defender of the two, though Baseball-reference WAR rates them similarly poorly the last couple of years.
On the other hand, there’s one more big reason to prefer Ludwick, and that’s that Ross wants a three-year, $24 million deal. Ludwick seems likely to settle for a one- or two-year contract.
The New York Post’s Joel Sherman says the Mets are interested in Ludwick, though money is tight and it’s iffy whether they’ll be able to afford him. The Reds have an offer on the table to re-sign him, and more suitors could step up once Ross is off the market.
The Nationals would very much like to keep free agent Adam LaRoche, but they’re sticking to their guns at the moment and only offering a two-year deal. Fortunately for them, it may yet be enough to get a deal done.
According to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com, the Rangers are not purusing LaRoche, and MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli writes that the Orioles’ interest seems “minimal at best.”
ESPN’s Jayson Stark reported earlier in the day that the Orioles were going in “hard” on LaRoche.
If the Rangers and Orioles aren’t involved, that may leave the Nationals and Mariners as LaRoche’s primary bidders. The Mariners may be legitimate threats there, but one wonders if they’d really overpay for LaRoche when they still have Justin Smoak and maybe Jesus Montero as possible long-term first basemen.
Update: In a twist, FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the Mariners are interested in acquiring Michael Morse from the Nationals. Presumably, they’d have to leave LaRoche alone and let him go back to Washington in order to have a shot at Morse.
We’ll hear plenty about players opting out of the World Baseball Classic over the next couple of months. How about a couple of guys that are in: Minnesota’s Joe Mauer and the Mets’ David Wright.
The Mauer commitment makes it less of a big deal now if Buster Posey decides not to play for Team USA in March. A Mauer-Posey tag team would be awesome, but Mauer starting with Matt Wieters as a backup would be pretty good as well.
Wright is one of Team USA’s two best options at third base, Evan Longoria being the other. Longoria’s status for the tournament is clear.
The WBC announced 28 commitments in all today. Along with the two for the USA are:
Australia: Liam Hendriks, Grant Balfour
Brazil: Yan Gomes, Andre Rienzo
Canada: Justin Morneau
Chinese Taipei: Hong-Chih Kuo
China: Wei Wang, Ray Chang
Dominican Republic: Robinson Cano, Jose Reyes
Italy: Jason Grilli, Alex Liddi
Japan: Masahiro Tanaka, Shinnosuke Abe
Korea: Seung Yeop Lee, Dan Ho Lee
Mexico: Adrian Gonzalez, Sergio Romo
Netherlands: Andruw Jones, Roger Bernadina
Puerto Rico: Carlos Beltran, Yadier Molina
Spain: Engel Beltre, Francisco Figueroa
Venezuela: Miguel Cabrera, Pablo Sandoval