When Jacoby Ellsbury left the Boston Red Sox to sign with the New York Yankees, it seemed widely accepted that Jackie Bradley would take over the center field position. As a matter of fact, it looked like during the season that Ellsbury was on his way out and Bradley was heading in. That theory completely changed when the Red Sox signed Grady Sizemore, an extremely talented but frequently injured outfielder. And I do mean frequently.
At first, one might think that this would have been some sort of platoon situation or Sizemore was around as some sort of outfield depth. However, it is very obvious now that he is competition for the center field job. Both players are excellent defenders and both players bat left-handed. Sizemore, however, is a known entity when it comes to his offense and he really is a dynamic player, if he can ever stay on the field.
Sizemore was that good when he was healthy. He was probably one of the best players in the MLB between 2006 and 2008 and was even a member of the 30-30 club. It takes a very special player to be able to do that at least once in their career. He has also been an All-Star. He was Jacoby Ellsbury before there was a Jacoby Ellsbury. If this works out, Bradley could very easily be back in Pawtucket and we all could be saying “Jacoby who?” This could also reignite Sizemore’s career.
Bradley’s question has always been his bat and if it is ready to face major league pitchers. Sizemore could be an absolute steal and would cost the Red Sox very little money. If they hadn’t signed him and Bradley didn’t work out, they would be facing putting Shane Victorino in center field which is fine. However, they would probably need to move Daniel Nava in right field. Now Nava has worked hard to become a strong defender, but he is still no Victorino who is a Gold Glove at that position. The outfield defense would have been weakened significantly if Bradley isn’t ready. Sizemore is good insurance against that.
If you have ever seen a show called Sanford and Son, one of the characters was an old man named Grady who hobbled around. Let’s hope Sizemore isn’t hobbling off the field like someone twice his age. If this works out at all, though, it could be the steal of the offseason.