Phillies Might Bring Grady Sizemore Back in 2015

Over the weekend, MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reported that outfielder Grady Sizemore may be back in Phillies red for the 2015 season. The 32-year-old, oft-injured outfielder has performed well for the Phillies after struggling with the Boston Red Sox, with which he started the season.

As the Phillies don’t portend to be competitive in the near future, GM Ruben Amaro was asked if Sizemore can be part of the team’s rebuilding effort. He responded:

“Yeah, very possible,” Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said recently. “He’s played well enough to certainly be in consideration for 2015 and beyond. But again that’s one of those questions we’ll continue to assess. What we do with our outfield will be one of those questions, and he could very well be a part of it.”via Todd Zolecki

In 106 plate appearances, Sizemore has compiled a .340 weighted on-base average and as a result, has usurped some of the playing time in left field from the struggling Domonic Brown.

Sizemore, however, has also benefited from a .363 BABIP as a result of a career-high 26 percent line drive rate. With only 81 balls put in play as a Phillie, that can be waved off due to the small sample size. Among Phillies with at least 100 plate appearances, only Ben Revere has drawn walks at a lower rate, and Sizemore strikes out three times for every one walk. Sizemore’s true talent likely likes in the .300-.310 area in terms of wOBA, which is not the type of production you go out of your way to retain, particularly when it comes from an injury-prone player in his mid-30’s.

Sizemore has undergone seven different surgical procedures dating back to 2009, according to Baseball Prospectus:

  • September 9, 2009: Left elbow
  • September 16, 2009: Sports hernia
  • June 4, 2010: Left knee
  • July 21, 2011: Sports hernia
  • October 3, 2011: Right knee
  • March 1, 2012: Lower back
  • September 15, 2012: Right knee

To Sizemore’s credit, he has stayed off of the operating table for nearly two years. On the other hand, the result of all of those surgical procedures is that he is a shadow of the player he used to be.

The Phillies’ outfield is crowded as is, with Marlon Byrd in right field, Revere in center, and Brown in left. If Byrd is traded via waivers over the next two weeks, or at some point in the off-season, the Phillies should plug their corner outfield hole with a young player already in their system, such as Aaron Altherr. Furthermore, Sizemore should not be taking any playing time away from Brown, as Brown is still just 26 years old and could be a crucial part of the team when the Phillies return to competitive form. Sizemore certainly will not be part of the new and improved Phillies two or three years from now.

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20 comments

  1. Andrew Cleveland Alexander

    August 18, 2014 04:32 PM

    I dunno, Altherr is hitting .235 at AA, he only saw major league time due to the fact that he was the only able-bodied outfielder on the 40-man when Tony Gwynn Sr. died (and I think when Brown or someone else went on paternity leave). I think he’s a decent prospect but he needs more at-bats in the minors. Kelly Dugan isn’t ready to jump to the majors next year either. That leaves the likes of Leandro Castro and Cameron Perkins, Mr. May in Reading, who has been downright abysmal since his promotion to LHV.

    Having Sizemore next year on a one-year contract for something close to the major league minimum strikes me as a far better plan–even for the short term–than relying on ay of those guys. He’s actually exactly the sort of player the Phillies should focus on signing this offseason–a bounce-back candidate who can be signed to a cheap one-year deal and then flipped for prospects if he does enough to look attractive to a contender. With the exception of Franco, Galvis and maybe Cesar Hernandez, the Phillies don’t have any position players in the system who seem even remotely worthy of a place on a major league roster come 2015.

    2016, hopefully, will be a different story.

    • Bill Baer

      August 18, 2014 06:15 PM

      If Amaro had any plans on flipping Sizemore, he would have done it by July 31 or he will do it by the end of this month. Gotta strike before the regression hits.

      • Hey

        August 18, 2014 09:36 PM

        Sample size too small, and every team knows it. Since his contract will be very cheap next year, even if he hits .260 with a bit of power, and shows he can stay healthy, he’ll still be a decent trade chip. And that’s better than anything else we’ve got right now for RF. Assuming Byrd is traded before the season starts.

      • Rueben Amaro Jr.

        August 20, 2014 07:19 AM

        What’s regression?

  2. Ryan

    August 18, 2014 04:37 PM

    I swear, if Ruin Tomorrow Jr. signs Sizemore for 2015 I’ll… I’ll… still watch my team…

    BUT I’LL KEEP COMPLAINING! (Ha! that’ll show ‘em).

  3. ASK

    August 18, 2014 07:57 PM

    “If Byrd is traded via waivers over the next two weeks…”

    Can he be traded via waivers? I thought if you put a player on waivers and he was claimed, you had to pull him back in a certain period of time (48 hours?) after which you cannot trade him until the off-season.

    • Andrew Cleveland Alexander

      August 18, 2014 11:45 PM

      From MLBTR: “Phillies outfielder Marlon Byrd has apparently been pulled back from revocable waivers after being claimed by an as-yet-unidentified team, as he played tonight for Philadelphia. Reports suggested Byrd was claimed on or before Wednesday, and the 48.5 hour window to complete a transaction (or withdraw the claimed player) would have expired by now.”

      So, no, if he was pulled back he can’t be traded until the offseason.

  4. Pencilfish

    August 18, 2014 09:36 PM

    If Sizemore keeps producing like he has, he won’t be available on one year deal.
    It may take more than that. Having said that, Brown has had 1400+ PA in the majors. How much longer should one wait, even if the Phillies are not competitive over the next several years? If Brown doesn’t improve significantly, he will likely be taking away PA’s from other deserving players, though admittedly no one in the minors are knocking on the ML-door yet. Many say Howard should take his .673 OPS (and -1.2 WAR) to the bench (or somewhere else). Then, why put up with Brown’s .614 OPS and -1.6 WAR? It shouldn’t matter how much money Howard makes. What should matter is which players give the team the best competitive chance.

    • ASK

      August 19, 2014 06:16 AM

      Pencilfish,

      On Sizemore, I find it unlikely that he’ll continuing producing a .363 BABIP, so I find it unlikely that he’ll continue producing a .297 / .336 / .426 triple slash like he’s produced in Philly. I also find it extremely doubtful that any GM will be convinced enough by his performance in Philly to sign him to a multi-year deal. For the year, his triple-slash is .245 / .304 / .360 with a wRC+ of 84, which is not nearly strong enough for a player whose past injuries having diminished his defensive ability to the point where he can only play in a corner. I really hope he crashes and burns before the front office signs him to an extension.

      On the Howard vs. Brown question, the answer is age. Howard is 34, an age at which players are generally declining whereas Brown is 26, an age at which players generally improve. Considering that Brown is only one year removed from putting up a 1.7 WAR season, I would hate to find out that Brown really is a 1.5 to 2.5 WAR player while he’s playing for another team and making a small amount of money (by MLB standards).

      • Pencilfish

        August 19, 2014 11:46 AM

        I agree Sizemore is unlikely to produce as he has done lately, but he is better than he showed with the Red Sox earlier this season. Based on performance alone, he should be playing instead of Dom Brown.

        After Brown put a 1.7 WAR (mostly in May 2013?), I think pitchers adjusted and started pitching him outside. Brown doesn’t have opposite field power and can’t lay off the outside pitches, which has resulted in weak flyballs and rolling over groundballs. He has not been able to adjust. The key question is how long should the Phillies wait. If you are concerned about giving up on a soon-to-be 27-yr-old Brown, shouldn’t we be concerned about a 28-yr-old Ruf? Brown has a .721 OPS after 1441 PA’s. Ruf has a .831 OPS in 384 PA’s. If the Phillies ditch Sizemore, then the PA’s should be split between Brown and Ruf from now until the end of Spring Training 2015. This can go a long way to determine who should ride the bench, Ruf or Brown.

      • ASK

        August 19, 2014 04:06 PM

        “Based on performance alone, he should be playing instead of Dom Brown.”

        Yes, but these decisions should not be based on performance alone, especially performance in small sample sizes. Based on performance alone and ignoring sample size, Andres Blanco has been the most valuable Philly this year with his 133 wRC+ and positive defensive contributions at multiple positions. As GB pointed out below, Pat Burrell had a 2003 season that was similar to the one Brown is suffering through right now. Fortunately, the Phils did not dump Burrell after that season when he was 27.

        “After Brown put a 1.7 WAR (mostly in May 2013?), I think pitchers adjusted and started pitching him outside…He has not been able to adjust.”

        Yes, Brown put up a wRC+ of 174 last May. From June 1 to the end of the season, his wRC+ was ~118. This year, his wRC+ is 69. There is a big difference between Dom from last year even excluding his May production and Dom from this year.

        “The key question is how long should the Phillies wait.”

        I don’t know how long the Phillies should wait, but I think they should plan on giving Dom through at least the first 1/3 of next season to turn things back around.

        “If you are concerned about giving up on a soon-to-be 27-yr-old Brown, shouldn’t we be concerned about a 28-yr-old Ruf?”

        Just about everything that I read and hear about Ruf’s defense in LF is that it is significantly worse than Brown’s defense in LF. That being the case, Ruf is a 1B only. If the front office and manager decided to make Ruf the regular 1B for the rest of the season, I would be on board with that. If nothing else, they’ll learn whether he has value to the Phillies or on the trade market.

      • Pencilfish

        August 19, 2014 08:49 PM

        What is the basis for comparing Brown with Burrell? Burrell played 3B at the University of Miami and was the 1st pick OVERALL by the Phillies in 1998. He was built like a linebacker (listed at 6’4″ and 235 lbs). Brown was selected in the 20th round in 2006 as an OF and is listed as 6’5″ and 200 lbs. These two guys have different body types and were worlds apart in the eyes of draft scouts and other ML professionals. Perhaps one can compare their (limited) defensive skills, but not much else.

        Ruf is probably not much of a defender as an OF either, but I am surprised people say he’s worse than Brown. I didn’t think that was possible! Given that Brown is eligible for arbitration this winter and will see a significant (undeserved) pay raise, it is fair to say Ruf may be better use of the Phillies money, unless Brown begins to play better.

      • Hey

        August 19, 2014 09:11 PM

        You’re right, brown was never a top prospect like pat, so we should give up on him.

  5. Beez Nutz

    August 19, 2014 08:16 AM

    “crowded outfield “… and Dom Brown mentioned …. when are we going to admit he sucks?

  6. GB

    August 19, 2014 09:53 AM

    If the Phils sign Sizemore for 1 year at the league minimum, that would ok granted they commit to flipping him at next year’s deadline and do not delude themselves that he is “back” as a player. He is too injury prone and old to be retained for longer than 2015 during our rebuild.

    Either way, Brown should be given the opportunities over Sizemore and Sandberg has got to be directed to stop managing to “save his job” and try to win as many meaningless games as possible this season. The season is toast and the focus needs to be on development and the acquisition of talent for the vets who are not in our plans or worth keeping. Kendrick definitely needs to be moved by 8/31 before we lose him for nothing. Burnett, Byrd & Papelbon should be moved before next season starts for the best value possible.

    Brown had a successful minor league career, was one of the best prospects in baseball and had a good year in 2013 for the Phils. Like Burrell in 2003, he has had a lost season in 2014, but there is no reason to give up on him at age 26 when he is cheap, under team control and still has potential. These are the players the Phils should be working on developing and one cannot develop from the bench.

    • hk

      August 19, 2014 12:06 PM

      Yes, by all means, they should sign Sizemore to a one year deal at a low base salary (league minimum or otherwise) if he’ll take it. If necessary, they could also throw in some incentives for him to earn more should he show to be worthy of getting something like 300, 450 or 600 PA’s. Under no circumstances should 2016 be addressed in any extension unless it is a team option with an extremely low buyout.

      Great point on Brown vis-à-vis Burrell.

      • Andrew Cleveland Alexander

        August 19, 2014 01:36 PM

        Yeah, I kind of forgot about that year, I think that was the one when they brought in Mike Schmidt to work with him and Schmitty basically threw up his hands. Actually, I seem to recall Schmidt ripping Burrell a couple times.

  7. Mike Lacy

    August 19, 2014 10:09 AM

    Sizemore used to have a decent walk rate. Is the decrease due to pitchers fearing him less?

  8. ALPHONSE DATTOLO

    August 19, 2014 04:08 PM

    DOMINIC BROWN SHOULD BE GIVEN HIS RELEASE. HE HAS HAD MANY CHANCES TO PROVE HIS WORTH BUT HE HAS FAILED. BRING BACK SAM THOMPSON, BILLY HAMILTON AND ED DELAHANTY FROM THE 1894 PHILLIES . THEY ARE THE GAME’S ONLY .400 HITTING OUTFIELD. I HAVE BEEN A PHILLIES FAN FOR 54 YEARS.

    • Ryan

      August 20, 2014 12:13 PM

      Don’t tempt Rueben, he might offer those guys contracts!

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