One of the recent rumors connected to Grady Sizemore was that eight different teams were interested in the outfielder – the Colorado Rockies, Chicago Cubs, Texas Rangers, San Francisco Giants, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Boston Red Sox, and the Indians. With that much interest, it seemed highly unlikely that he’d be returning to Cleveland for the 2012 season. One of those teams were sure to pay more than the Indians were willing to spend.
Now Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal is saying that the Indians are in serious discussions with Sizemore and that Sizemore is shying away from discussions with other teams because he wants to remain in Cleveland. A deal could come as soon as this weekend.
If true, this is an interesting turn of events. If he does remain with the Indians in 2012, it’s likely on a one year deal. Sizemore probably wants to re-establish his value and hit the free agent market again next off-season. Perhaps he just feels most comfortable with the Indians and their training staff as he recovers from his most recent medical procedure? I still think a deal with a low base salary and plenty of incentives is good for both Sizemore and the Indians. That way, if healthy, Sizemore performs well and earns the full value of the contract. If he’s not healthy, the Indians don’t sink a lot of money into a player that may not be able to have a significant number of at-bats.
In other news:
The Indians made some changes to the 40-man roster recently – a few weeks ago they outrighted outfielder Trevor Crowe from the 40-man. He is not eligible for free agency, so he’ll likely remain in the Indians minor league system.
Today they designated infielder Luis Valbuena for assignment, removing him from the 40-man roster. While he excelled at the minor league level, Valbuena was never able to translate that into success at the Major League level. Valbuena came to Cleveland in a three team trade in 2008 – the Seattle Mariners sent Sean Green, J.J. Putz, and Jeremy Reed to the New York Mets; the Mets sent Mike Carp, Ezequiel Carrera, Endy Chavez, Maikel Cleto, Aaron Heilman, and Jason Vargas to the Mariners; the Indians sent Franklin Gutierrez to the Mariners, and received Valbuena from the Mariners and Joe Smith from the Mets. Valbuena is likely to be claimed by some team seeking middle infield depth. One positive – at least we won’t have to watch the poor guy attempt to play the outfield again as an Indian.
The Indians added three minor leaguers to the 40-man roster – LHP Scott Barnes, shortstop Juan Diaz, and RHP Danny Salazar. The 24-year-old Barnes split time between Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus in 2011; he was 8-4 with a 3.45 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, and 107 strikeouts. He came to the Indians from the San Francisco Giants organization in a trade for Ryan Garko in 2009. Diaz, 22, came to the Indians from Seattle with Ezequiel Carrera when the Indians traded Russell Branyan to the Mariners in 2010. With Double-A Akron in 2011, Diaz hit .255/.310/.368. The 21-year-old Salazar was signed as a non-drafted free agent by the Indians out of the Dominican Republic in 2006. He split the 2011 season between the Indians’ Arizona rookie league team and the Lake County Captains; Salazar went 0-2 with a 3.07 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, and 18 strikeouts.
Dale Sveum was hired as the new manager of the Chicago Cubs, meaning that Sandy Alomar, Jr. will not be leaving Cleveland for Chicago. He is still in the running for the Boston Red Sox job, even though there were rumors that the Red Sox preferred Sveum as well. It sounds like Alomar may get a second interview in Boston, but they’re taking their time on hiring Terry Francona’s replacement.
Here’s a great article on Cleveland’s Role in Origins of Baseball in America.