It seemed all but a foregone conclusion that Grady Sizemore was destined to return to the state of Ohio. This time, as a member of the Cincinnati Reds. Then, he left for greener left field walls and longer beards.
Sizemore began his career in an upward trend that resembled a rocket taking off, that had him placed amongst the annals of the game’s elite. From 2005-2008, he had the fourth highest WAR of all position players in the game. He was the face of northern Ohio; the Cleveland Indians version of a young Fred Lynn. There was nothing about Sizemore’s game that gave the impression that anything came difficultly; he was the complete package. Fast forward to 2014, and he’s just thankful for a big league job.
The Reds seemed like the perfect fit. Up until yesterday, there were murmurs about Billy Hamilton not being ready for the show. All of this was put to rest when new head man in charge, Bryan Price said that the club was moving ahead with Hamilton as the guy in center field.
Not signing Sizemore, and allowing him to become a member of the reigning World Series Champion Boston Red Sox, caused quite the uproar in the Reds community. More than anything, this signifies the lack of movement during this current off-season. Being a fan of a mid-market club means that $477 million being spent from November to February is not a realistic possibility.
Where the Reds turn from here is not exactly gloom and doom. Even though he received a large sum of criticism last season, Ryan Ludwick is returning healthy and should be expected to play at least 120 games during the 2014 season. The back-ups include familiar face, Chris Heisey, and newcomer, Skip Schumaker. For some reason, should “Billy the Kid” flop, Jay Bruce is an excellent defender and would almost certainly make a seamless transition to the center of the outfield, allowing Heisey to slide into right.
Ultimately, Grady Sizemore was a risk. The Red Sox are guaranteeing him $750,000, and willing to give him an addition $6 million should he magically find his stroke again. When the Reds struck lightning in a bottle with Josh Hamilton in 2007, it was an anomaly. Missing out on signing Sizemore may be disappointing, but it does not deter the Reds from the ultimate goal of winning the World Series.