The Cleveland Indians announced today that they have decline to pick up the $9 million option on Grady Sizemore for the 2012 season. The Tribe was hoping to negotiate an incentive-laden deal for the often injured Sizemore, but that didn’t happen so they let him go.
Sizemore was a rising star and an excellent all-around player before he injured his knee. In 2008, Sizemore clubbed 33 home runs and stole 38 bases. But in the last three seasons, he’s only played in 210 games with 28 home runs and 17 steals. This year he didn’t steal a single base, and with all the injuries nobody knows if he can return to his previous form.
The Indians couldn’t afford to take that chance. They desperately need to add some reliable bats to go with their solid pitching staff and Sizemore was too big a risk, particularly since they are stuck with the brittle Travis Hafner for one more season at $13 million.
Sizemore will get plenty of interests from other teams, and the upside is there if he can stay healthy. The big-money teams can more easily absorb the risk.