Grady Sizemore: Starter in 2015?


There has been some discussion regarding the Phillies outfield heading into the new season regarding outfielder Grady Sizemore. The deliberation has mainly been around his role with the Phillies, and what he can produce after sealing a one-year, $2 million deal.

With the trade of Marlon Byrd to the Cincinnati Reds, Sizemore could move from utility outfielder to a starting role at one of the corner positions. He joins Ben Revere, returning arbitration-eligible Domonic Brown, a potential move back to the outfield for utility player Darin Ruf, and some new arrivals in the battle for outfield time.

The Byrd trade, while not unexpected, has significant impacts on the Phillies plans and causes a stir all through the roster. Brian Bogusevic and Jeff Francoeur were signed to minor league contracts, and each could now get more of a chance to prove themselves as non-roster Spring Training invitees. 

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Sizemore hit .253 in 60 games for the Phillies, which is a solid average for the man who appeared to become one of manager Ryne Sandberg’s go-to pinch hitters off the bench. The 30-year-old had a bounce back season, and Phillies fans quickly appreciated what he could bring to the team.

It is important not to ignore Rule 5 draft pick Odubel Herrera, who is destroying the Venezuela Winter League. Herrera is hitting .370 with a .427 OBP and a .987 OPS, including six home runs.

He could play a big part in the Phillies squad, as he must stay on the 25-man roster for the whole 2015 season or be offered back to Texas. Furthermore, he is 8-for-8 on steals, so the skill set he offers as a powerful yet speedy outfielder makes him an attractive part of the Phils’ plans. With the Byrd trade, it appears that Herrera will also get an increased opportunity to shine.

Sizemore has as good a chance as anyone to be an outfield starter on opening day, which is not necessarily a bad thing. He has a .266 lifetime Major League average, and a .352 career OBP. This doesn’t quite stack up with the .313 OBP he achieved with the Phillies in 2014, but it shows his potential.

Despite his age, Sizemore still has a lot to offer, and is motivated by having a lot to prove. It should do him good to be in a more settled environment in his second season as a Phillie. If he does up his game, it will look like a no-brainer to have given him this new deal.

A fan of Grady Sizemore, I personally hope he returns to his full potential in 2015. But with options like Ruf, Francoeur, Bogusevic, and Herrera in the outfield, and with more trades possibly to come, so much could still happen before Opening Day.