Three weeks after declining their $8.5 million option on Grady Sizemore the Indians have re-signed the oft-injured outfielder to a one-year, $5 million contract.
Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports that the deal also includes up to $4 million in additional incentives and Sizemore received a $500,000 buyout to become a free agent in the first place, so basically he can earn the entirety of the option that was declined if he stays healthy.
Sizemore reportedly drew offers from quite a few teams, but focused on negotiating with the Indians last week and clearly wanted to remain in Cleveland if possible. Agreeing to a one-year deal with no option for 2013 gives him a chance to get healthy and recoup his value with an eye toward hitting the free agent market again next winter at age 29 and the Indians apparently plan to keep him in center field.
From the Indians’ point of view they essentially changed $4 million in guaranteed money into $4 million in incentives for a one-time franchise building block who hasn’t been healthy and productive since 2008, missing 276 of a possible 486 games since then. It seems like a win-win move for both sides, but there’s no doubt that Sizemore’s career is at a major crossroads.
The White Sox have reportedly picked up first baseman Yonder Alonso from the Indians, according to Stadium. The return for Alonso is expected to be nothing more flashy than a “fringe prospect,” though the minutiae of the deal is still pending a formal announcement from both teams.
Alonso, 31, inked a two-year deal with the Indians during the 2017 offseason. His first campaign with the club yielded a modest .250/.317/.421 batting line, 23 home runs, .738 OPS and 0.7 fWAR in 574 PA. The real boon for the White Sox may not be a passable veteran bat, however, but something more intangible — like Alonso’s clout with his brother-in-law and highly-coveted free agent slugger, Manny Machado.
While Alonso’s 2018 output represented a significant decline from the career-best numbers he posted in 2017, he’s still a solid contributor at the plate and, more importantly, slated to remain under team control for the next two years with just $8 million owed in 2019 and a $9 million option in 2020. As MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince notes, the $17 million the Indians just erased from their payroll should give them enough room to accommodate the contracts for right-handers Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber — a bonus regardless of what they happen to get in the trade.