Outfielder Grady Sizemore, designated for assignment by the Red Sox on Tuesday and released the next day, has cleared waivers according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Sizemore is now a free agent, and he is already drawing interest from other clubs. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that the Phillies are one of several teams expressing interest in the nine-year veteran.
Sizemore, 31, made his return to the big leagues after a two-year layoff due to injuries. He got off to a hot start with the Red Sox, posting a .966 OPS over his first ten games. Between April 15 and June 15, however, Sizemore mustered a meager .187/.263/.267 with no home runs and 11 RBI in 167 plate appearances.
The Phillies don’t have room for Sizemore in the outfield currently, with Domonic Brown in left field, Ben Revere in center, and Marlon Byrd in right with John Mayberry, Jr. serving as the fourth outfielder. However, if the Phillies fall behind in the NL East over the next month, it’s likely they would explore trading Byrd and/or Mayberry, which would open up a spot for Sizemore. CSN Philly’s Jim Salisbury recently reported that the Yankees and Red Sox had scouts at Phillies games looking at Mayberry.
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The Atlanta Braves selected high school pitcher Carter Stewart with the number eight overall pick in the 2018 draft. Then, after the draft, they gave Stewart a below-slot signing bonus offer, claiming that they found problems with his wrist in his post-draft physical. Stewart ended up rejecting the offer and the MLBPA filed a grievance against the Braves on Stewart’s behalf.
The grievance sought to make Stewart a free agent it was considered a long shot at the time of its filing and, in fact, the grievance was rejected. Stewart, unable to attain free agency, enrolled at Eastern Florida State College, a two-year school that would’ve made him eligible for the 2019 draft.
Now, Ken Rosenthal reports, Stewart has pulled a crazy Ivan and is heading to Japan, having signed with the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks of the Japanese Pacific League. The terms of the deal aren’t known, but Rosenthal says Stewart was looking for a $7 million guarantee.
It’s a fascinating turn of events for Stewart who, this time last year, was considered perhaps the best amateur pitcher in baseball. Being lowballed and having his health questioned by the Braves may have been a wakeup call to Stewart, however, about his chances of finding a quick path the bigs in the U.S. If the shine did come off of his prospect status in the past year here, there’s every reason to believe that $7 million and a path to the bigs in Japan is a much better deal than several million less and a path to the bigs in America.
He’ll be worth watching over the next few years, that’s for sure. Both for his own sake and to see if, in this era of Major League Baseball’s capping of amateur bonuses and teams’ habit of manipulating service time, going overseas becomes more attractive to American high schoolers and college players.