2014 Phillies Report Card: Grady Sizemore

I thought about writing up Grady Sizemore‘s season as if I thought he was Scott Sizemore, but I’m pretty sure there’s not much material there, since Scott’s season was even less impactful that Grady’s, (Scott took all of 16 big league PAs in 2014). Next came the idea that somehow I could play off his name, indicating perhaps that his new contract was making me “sigh more” about the state of the team, but I made that joke on Twitter when he signed, and it wasn’t funny the first time, and hoping to somehow phrase it better with more characters available is a reach. And the first name, Grady, kind of goes with the theme of report cards, but his year was better than something between a D- and an F+, so “Grade: E” doesn’t really help me out. Even after I looked for the graphic and deftly added the line at the bottom of the F.

As such, I’m left with talking about Grady Sizemore’s 2014. Stay with me, folks. I’ll try to keep it lively.

Grady Sizemore used to be a lot better than he is now. He was a 6-8 WAR player in his four year prime with Cleveland, where he was a very valuable defender in center field and a 20/20 guy three times and a 30/30 guy once, with wOBA between .359 and .383 over those four years. He started having surgery for a living in 2010 and really stuck with it, having what seems like thirteen or fourteen surgeries in four years, (I guess it was only seven).

After two full years off, he signed with Boston in January and put up very poor numbers for 205 PAs before the cut him loose. The Phillies, desperate to never give long-time minor leaguer Leandro Castro a big league roster spot, picked Sizemore up in June on a minor league deal and called him up in July. To my surprise, he was not terrible in 176 PAs with the big club (97wRC+). He hit for limited power, (.136 ISO), but managed to pop 14 XBH, three of those homers. Fangraphs says he added negligible defensive value when he was used in left field, and was poor in CF and RF with both Boston and Philly, -42 and -22 UZR/150 in small samples at the two positions respectively.

After the season, the Phillies decided that, with a dearth of outfield options seen to be big league ready in 2014, locking up Sizemore for 2015 was worth $2M. How much time he spends in the lineup will likely depend more on the guys ahead of him on the depth chart. Any injury to Ben Revere would likely force Sizemore into extended service in center field, at least until Aaron Altherr is deemed ready to play every day in the bigs. Dom Brown not hitting or not fielding or both could push Sizemore into left field, and a trade of Marlon Byrd, if not coupled with the signing of Yasmany Tomas, could press Sizemore into a platoon in right with Darin Ruf. The best thing for Sizemore’s future would be his return to some sort of reasonable defense in center field, but at age 32 in 2015, it’s hard to see that happening. More likely, his best outcome next year is that he’s hitting enough to be a reasonably priced bench bat on the trade market in July or August, and play himself into another big league deal for 2016.

I wouldn’t feel warranted to be too harsh on Sizemore’s season. I imagine he considers his year a success, based on the seven figures he locked up for next year and not having to meet any new anesthesiologists. He wasn’t so bad in left field that it made you cringe every time one was hit his way, and he can’t help that he was used out of position in center and right. He was just below average at the plate, in a year where he couldn’t afford to be much worse and keep a job. So, in summary, meh.

Grade: C-

Better than Scott Sizemore, that’s for sure. That guy would make anyone sigh to a greater degree. He didn’t even earn an E. So good job, Grady.

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