When the Indians re-signed Grady Sizemore to a one-year, $5 million they did so hoping he’d be ready for Opening Day, but instead the oft-injured center fielder hasn’t played a single game and now he’s been ruled out for the season following another setback.
Manager Manny Acta summed up the situation pretty well to Jordan Bastian of MLB.com:
It’s sad. I won’t call it disappointing. I’m just sad for the human being that he is, and the type of player that he is. … A lot of things have happened over the last three, four years that have been completely out of his control. The guy played the game right. He was an elite player in this league. Unfortunately, over the last three or four seasons, he hasn’t been able to do it.
Sizemore is still only 30 years old, but he’s had multiple surgeries on his back, elbow, and both knees. And he’s just never been able to build any momentum with his latest comeback, repeatedly having to take a break from rehab due to different aches and pains.
By age 25 he’d made three All-Star teams, won two Gold Glove awards, and received MVP votes in four seasons. In four years since then Sizemore will have missed 438 of a possible 648 games while hitting .234 when in the lineup. What a shame.
Commissioner Rob Manfred spoke with the media today. Naturally, he was asked various questions about the landscape of the sport, given that superstars Manny Machado and Bryce Harper remain unsigned as spring training begins. Per The Athletic’s Brittany Ghiroli, Manfred said that he thinks the free agent market will begin to move once spring training exhibition games begin. Manfred also said that Harper’s camp suggesting that he wants $400 million back in 2016 was “an impediment” to discussions throughout the offseason.
No word on why Machado is also as yet unsigned, as he did not have a reported $400 million ask.
Manfred’s job is to look out for ownership, so it’s not surprising to see him point the finger at Harper. Consider:
Manfred’s comment comes just months after the Red Sox won 108 regular season games and the World Series with baseball’s largest payroll. And ongoing evidence that there is indeed a positive correlation between dollars spent and team success. We often hear justification for tanking/rebuilding because the Cubs and Astros did it and won championships because of it. When the Red Sox use financial muscle to win a championship, it’s crickets.
Manfred didn’t stop there, however.
An easy way to get baseball’s “glow” back would be for two of the game’s best and most popular players to be in uniform playing games. The first spring training exhibition game will be played on February 22, so it’s not looking like that’s going to happen anytime soon.
Baseball’s “glow” would also come back if more teams were actively trying to win. Instead, one-third of the league is “rebuilding” or otherwise coasting on revenue-sharing. For fans of the Rangers, Orioles, Royals, and Marlins — to name a few — the outcomes of their favorite teams’ seasons have already been decided, so what is there to get excited about?