The Cleveland Indians have come to terms with Grady Sizemore, the most sought after free agent sleeper in the history of baseball off seasons, to an incentive laden one year contract with a $5 million base salary that could end up being worth as much as $9 million by the time the season is over.
Prior to the signing, the Indians declined their $9 million club option on the oft injured outfielder, opting to pay him a $500,o00 fee for the privilege of doing so. The incentives that could allow him to surpass the original option terms (including the opt out fee) don’t begin to kick in until Sizemore attains 450 plate appearances. A separate bonus exists for the possibility of him winning comeback player of the year.
Every fan base in the Major Leagues viewed Sizemore as the type of low risk high reward investment that ultimately led to the Indians’ aggressive pursuit of the 29 year old whose entire MLB career has taken place in Cleveland.
Such an incentive laden deal makes sense for a fantastic player with a history of injuries that have seen him miss more than 270 games in his eight year career. Since April of 2010, Sizemore has had five trips to the DL due to his knees, both of which have now been operated on. At the very least Sizemore’s status means that we can reuse the Carlos Beltran joke from last year, this time asking:
What has four knees and sucks?
The Cleveland Indian’s outfield.