The Cincinnati Reds have "explored adding" free agent outfielder Grady Sizemore, according to Mark Sheldon of MLB.com. General manager Walt Jocketty believes that Sizemore, whose career has been derailed by injuries, is healthy, reports Sheldon.
Sizemore was once seen as an all-around player who could hit for a solid average with power and patience, steal bases, and play above-average defense in center field. Indeed, his career highs include a .290 average (2006), 33 home runs and 38 stolen bases (2008) and 101 walks (2007). He also won Gold Gloves in 2007 and 2008.
However, Sizemore flamed out before he really hit his peak. After receiving down-ballot MVP votes for the fourth straight year in 2008, he was limited to 106 games in his age-26 season in 2009 before succumbing to elbow surgery.
The injury was cited as a reason for his decreased production that year. He appeared in only 104 games combined over the next two seasons due to a variety of maladies including injuries to both kness (one of which required microfracture surgery) as well as a pair of operations for sports hernias.
Sizemore hasn't appeared in the majors since 2011; his attempted comeback in 2012 was cut short by back surgery during spring training. In eight seasons with the Cleveland Indians, the lefty batted .269/.357/.473 with 139 home runs and 134 stolen bases.
If the 31-year-old Sizemore is indeed healthy, then he would be a great fit on the Reds. With the departure of center fielder Shin-Soo Choo via free agency, Cincinnati's starting outfield is currently expected to consist of Ryan Ludwick in left, rookie Billy Hamilton in center and Jay Bruce in right.
Bruce, coming off three consecutive 30-homer seasons, is the only known quantity in that trio -- the 35-year-old Ludwick played only 38 games last year after undergoing shoulder surgery, and Hamilton is still completely unproven in a starting role in the majors. Adding Sizemore could provide depth behind Ludwick and Hamilton while also giving the team a potentially high-reward lottery ticket should he enjoy a particularly successful comeback.