The Grady Sizemore Experiment is officially over for the Red Sox, as they designated the veteran outfielder for assignment on Tuesday. Garin Cecchini, who has already been with Boston briefly in 2014 and was placed on the 40-man roster over the offseason, will take Sizemore's place on the 25 man roster. WEEI's Alex Speier broke the Sizemore news, while MLB Daily Dish's Chris Cotillo reported earlier on Tuesday that Cecchini's call-up was in the works.
Sizemore managed to stay healthy, which merits attention given he hasn't been a full-season regular since 2008, back when he was with the Cleveland Indians. The talent he had back then just wasn't on display once the regular season began and more than Sizemore's timing against spring training fastballs had to be tested: the 31-year-old batted just .216/.288/.324 in 52 games, and his defense forced him mostly into a corner, where the Red Sox have a variety of other options at their disposal.
Especially now that Brock Holt has established himself as an outfielder to the point that he's Boston's starting center fielder on Tuesday night against the Twins: if you have a middle infielder who is capable of starting in center when needed, as well as Jackie Bradley Jr. and his development to think of, then the room for Sizemore just isn't there. This is especially true when Daniel Nava and Jonny Gomes also exist on the roster, and Shane Victorino is set to return sooner than later to patrol right field once more. This was a known possibility before Holt even actually moved to the outfield:
And who knows, maybe Holt does keep on hitting, and the Sox find out that left is where the utility player should get regular playing time once Victorino returns, bringing an end to Sizemore's role as a starter. If that were to occur, they would have Napoli and Victorino back where they belong, both Xander Bogaerts and Stephen Drew in the same lineup, and a left fielder who was at least keeping the Sox from going backwards. It would be much easier to deal with the growing pains of Jackie Bradley Jr. if they could just get some offense from elsewhere, and the return of healthy players and a Holt in the outfield might be just the way to get there.
Even though half-a-season of Sizemore didn't work out, it's a move that made sense for the Red Sox given the ability he displayed during his peak years: it might have been years since he regularly played, but at 31, he wasn't ancient or anything. If not for injuries and ineffectiveness from other outfielders, they might have ended the experiment sooner.
Should Sizemore clear waivers, the Red Sox could place him back in the minors. Someone out there might be willing to take a chance on him exploding in the second half, however, now that the Red Sox have finished the harder work of surviving his first few months back in the majors.
As for Cecchini, he's likely sticking around only until Victorino is ready to return. He gives them another option besides just Jonathan Herrera should Xander Bogaerts feel sick once more in the next couple of days, or if Stephen Drew needs a day off to rest what has been an ailing oblique. While he hasn't wowed at Triple-A Pawtucket, batting just .263/.344/.329 with all of 10 extra-base hits in 241 plate appearances, he does have obvious talent, and shouldn't be out of his element with a short-term bump to the bigs.