The Cleveland Indians announce this morning that star center fielder Grady Sizemore has been signed to a six-year contract extension through the 2011 season with a team option for the following year. The pact was the longest such deal by the club in over ten seasons (Omar Vizquel; December 1995).
The 23-year-old center fielder erupted onto the scene in 2005 in just his second season in the Majors and his first full effort, hitting .289 with 22 homers, 22 stolen bases, and 81 RBI in 158 games. The move would initially pay off for the Tribe, as he was a model of consistency for the next several years, leading the league in games played in 2006 and 2007 while also leading the league in runs scored and doubles in ’06 and plate appearances in ’07. He made the All-Star squads in each of the first three years of the contract.
Halfway through the contract, the injury bug bit and never seemed to let go of Sizemore. He played in 106 games in 2009, just 33 in 2010, and 71 in 2011. The Indians re-signed him following the 2011 season, but he would not play in another game for the club. He returned to the Bigs in 2014, playing with both the Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies, and split the 2015 season with the Phillies and Tampa Bay Rays.