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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Grady Sizemore officially signs with Indians

The Cleveland Indians make it official and have agreed to terms with the former all-star outfielder on a one-year, incentive-based contract.

It's a deal that could work for both sides if he can stay healthy and on the field.

The Indians declined a $9 million option for 2012 last month on Sizemore, who has undergone five surgeries the past two years and has only played in 210 games the last three seasons because of injuries. Sizemore reportedly drew interest as a free agent from several other teams, but decided to come back to Cleveland.

Sizemore's base salary in 2012 will be $5-million and he can make another $4-million based on plate appearances. The deal also includes an awards package that includes $500,000 if Sizemore is selected comeback player of the year.

“The Indians were aggressive in wanting to keep Grady, and he has said all along he would keep an open mind toward returning,” his agent, Joe Urbon, said in an email. “He appreciates the interest from other clubs, and he just felt that the best place to reassert himself as a great player is in Cleveland.”

The 29-year-old Sizemore played in only 71 games last season. He went on the disabled list three times and underwent knee surgery on Oct. 3.

When they decided not to pick up Sizemore's option, Indians general manager Chris Antonetti flew to Arizona to personally meet with Sizemore and explain the team's reasons for letting him go. Antonetti said the team was not closing the door on Sizemore and the Indians would gladly re-sign him — at the right price.

That gesture of loyalty, and the team's patience with Sizemore while he was hurt, meant a lot to Sizemore. He has remained one of the club's most popular players despite his medical issues.

With Sizemore back, and assuming he can stay healthy, the Indians' starting outfielder appears to be settled with Sizemore in centre, Michael Brantley in left and Shin-Soo Choo in right. The club still needs to add some depth.

The Montreal Expos selected Sizemore in the third round of the 2000 Major League Baseball Draft.

Sizemore was part of a six-player trade between the Indians and the Expos. Montreal dealt Sizemore, along with Cliff Lee, Brandon Phillips and Lee Stevens to Cleveland in exchange for Bartolo Colón and Tim Drew. This by the way, is one of Omar Minaya's worst trades of All-Time...Who was the Montreal GM.

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