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.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter is not expected to retain his position with the club beyond the 2018 season, according to multiple reports from Jon Heyman of Fancred and Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports. Nothing appears to be finalized just yet, however, and the Orioles have yet to address rumors of Showalter’s impending departure or news of a possible contract extension for general manager Dan Duquette.
Even so, it’s been a year of near-unprecedented disaster for the 62-year-old skipper, who helped lead the team to a 44-108 record prior to the outcome of Friday’s series opener against the Yankees. With the Orioles’ 108th loss — a 4-6 heartbreaker against the Blue Jays on Tuesday — they tied the 1937 St. Louis Browns for the second-most losses in a single season, eclipsed only by the 43-111 record of the 1939 Browns. As they have just 10 games remaining in the regular season, this year’s team has no chance of climbing out of last place in the AL East and may well finish with the worst record in the AL to boot.
While the Orioles’ missteps don’t bode well for Showalter’s future in Baltimore, he’s brought far more good than harm to the organization over the last eight and a half years. He assumed the managerial position from interim manager Juan Samuel in the middle of the team’s 2010 season and guided the club to five winning seasons and three postseason appearances in 2012, 2014, and 2016. Entering the 2018 season, his record sits at 666 wins and 677 losses, the winningest mark by any of the team’s skippers since Earl Weaver wrapped his 17-season run with the team in 1986. Whether the Orioles believe Showalter is capable of recovering from two consecutive losing seasons and returning the team to their former days of glory (and the occasional division title) remains to be seen, of course, though there’s plenty to recommend him as they prepare to advance a full-scale rebuild over the offseason.