Sizemore A Risk Tribe Couldn’t Take

Well, that didn’t take long did it?

Exhibition games haven’t even started yet in Goodyear, Arizona and already Indians’ outfielder Grady Sizemore is injured yet again, and will likely miss the first two months of the regular season.  At least.

Many have already speculated what the Tribe will do to make up for the loss of the former all-star, but you won’t read that here.  Why?  Because we didn’t figure he would be healthy enough to make much of an impact in 2012.

Quite frankly, Sizemore was a risk, a smaller market team like Cleveland simply couldn’t take, and GM Chris Antonetti deserves the criticism he is taking for giving $5 million to a player who hasn’t been a major factor since 2008. 

It’s not his fault.  Injuries have plagued the man who put up MVP like numbers from 2005-08.  He’s had knee problems, a sports hernia, and now a bad disk in his back. He always played hard and with abandon.  But, it cost him his health.

It is understandable that the Tribe front office feels some loyalty towards a player who looked like he had a great future ahead of him,  He was acquired while he was still in Class A ball and grew up in the Cleveland farm system.  However, after three seasons where he was a shell of himself, Antonetti should have walked away after declining the team option for $10 million after last season.

The risk was too great, especially for a team who contended without Sizemore for much of last season, and had needs to fill in order to take the next step in 2012.

Manny Acta could have used a solid right-handed bat in the worst way, and there were several available through free agency, most notably Josh Willingham (now with Minnesota) and Michael Cuddyer (now with Colorado).  The money given to Sizemore could have been used to sweeten the pot to either player, and the Indians were reportedly in serious negotiations with Willingham.

Instead, the Tribe still is searching for a legitimate hitter from the right side and now they likely will not have Sizemore for the first half of the season.  That’s a tough thing to explain to the fans and your boss. 

Teams that claim to have to have limited payrolls simply cannot give that kind of money on the if come.  The Indians will tell you that Grady could have received that kind of money somewhere else, and he probably could have.  That doesn’t mean Cleveland should have paid it.

It’s simply a bad decision and bad business. 

The signing is symbolic of the Tribe’s off-season.  Instead of trying to ink one solid, impact player, Antonetti used his limited resources to accumulate of bunch of players who help the depth chart, guys like Derek Lowe, Casey Kotchman, and Aaron Cunningham. 

Those players are low risk, high reward because their salaries aren’t very high, but the Indians needed to add a quality player, and they failed in that regard.

Instead they are depending on young players like Jason Kipnis and Lonnie Chisenhall to play older than they are, and also hope that Travis Hafner can play 130 games this year and be productive.

The biggest beneficiaries from the injury are Cunningham, Ryan Spilborghs, and Russ Canzler, all of whom figure into the picture in LF, with Michael Brantley assuming CF, 

It’s a shame that Grady Sizemore has suffered all of these injuries that have obviously affected his game.  However, the Indians should have made the right business move last year and put that cash to better, and safer, use.

KM

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