Don’t worry. The Pirates haven’t improved, either.
By now you’ve read the reports that Grady Sizemore has agreed to terms on a one-year contract with the Boston Red Sox tonight. He’ll reportedly earn $750,000 and if he meets certain performance targets, he could make up to $6 million.
This after general manager Walt Jocketty confirmed earlier in the week that the Reds were in serious talks with Sizemore and that the negotiations were down to some details.
The Amen Chorus of local reports has already started. The Red Sox contract makes it obvious why the Reds didn’t sign Sizemore: he was too expensive. Duh. The Reds couldn’t afford the risk, while the Red Sox could. Really? The Boston Red Sox payroll for 2013 was $150 million, the Reds payroll was $107 million. Boston spends more, but it’s not the Yankees-Rays gap. I get it though, the Sizemore deal will rocket the Sox payroll all the way up to $151 million. No way the Reds could take on something like that.
But the problem isn’t with sports writers, it’s with the Reds. A couple questions:
If the Reds couldn’t afford $750K (less than one percent of payroll) for Sizemore, how could they have been competing at all for Shin-Soo Choo?
If the Reds can’t risk a one-year, $750K contract, what in the world could they risk? That sounds like the least riskiest contract ever.
Miguel Cairo earned $1 million in 2012 and hit .187/.212/.280. Wilson Valdez signed for $930,000 in 2013 and hit .206/.236/.227. You can say that Grady Sizemore hasn’t been good since 2008. How far back do you think you’d have to look to find a season where Cairo or Valdez hit .268/.374/.502 with 33 home runs and 38 stolen bases? It’s true that Sizemore wasn’t a former Cardinal, so there’s that.
Of course we don’t know all the inside factors that are involved in trades, free agent offers and contract negotiations. We can only speculate. Maybe the Reds are knee-deep in negotiations for another starting center fielder. But the Reds’ decision making and off-season moves (so far) reek of conservative risk-aversion. Starting with the weak-kneed decision to keep Aroldis Chapman in the bullpen. It’s like they lost their nerve after they fired Dusty Baker. There hasn’t been a single aggressive move since (really including the trade deadline last year).
Risk averse, but the club seems perfectly content to accept the risk of starting a rookie at lead-off in CF who has a total of seven September hits in the major leagues. Three of which came against the Houston AAAstros. That’s a plan shakier than Grady Sizemore’s repaired knees. That’s the risk. Not signing Sizemore is a risk.
As Chris Garber tweeted earlier today – Not sure what’s more depressing: That the Reds were considering signing Grady Sizemore, or that they failed to do so.
Mark Twain wrote that it isn’t the size of the dog in the fight that matters, it’s the size of the fight in the dog. It’s hard to see much in the way of fight in the Reds front office right now.