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Ben Cherington on Grady Sizemore: ‘We didn’t think we could give it more time’

06.17.14 at 6:32 pm ET
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Grady Sizemore's promising spring training did not yield answers once the regular season arrived. (AP)

Grady Sizemore‘s promising spring training did not yield answers once the regular season arrived. (AP)

Red Sox GM Ben Cherington explained the team’s thinking behind the decision to designate Grady Sizemore for assignment on Tuesday afternoon, freeing a roster spot for Garin Cecchini to be added in the immediate term. Cherington said that the team thought that Sizemore had a chance to become an impact contributor, but that after two and a half months that had seen the 31-year-old hit .216 with a .288 OBP and .324 slugging mark in 52 games and 205 plate appearances, it was time to make the hard decision to move on from the former All-Star.

“As we explained to him, it was a really tough decision because of the person that he is and how much we think of him. We were certainly hoping and thinking that this would and could have turned out differently, and we were still hoping it would up until recently. It just got to the point where we didn’t think we could give it more time,” said Cherington. “We’re trying to find ways to create a better roster alignment for [manager John Farrell] and his staff, and so we made the decision to make the move.”

Cherington described the process of evaluating Sizemore as “difficult and probably imperfect” based on the fact that he hadn’t played in either 2012 or 2013. Whereas a couple of months would have served as a representative sample of playing time for most players, that long absence made it nearly impossible to say how long Sizemore would require to regain his timing — or if that will ever prove possible. The Sox, given the presence of multiple holes in their lineup, simply couldn’t keep waiting in hopes that Sizemore might bounce back.

“It won’t surprise me if he is in the big leagues somewhere else this year. It won’t surprise me if he looks like a better player this year. He had, what, 200 at-bats or something? That’s a good sample, but for a guy that’s missed as much time, he may just need more. We just weren’t able to give it to him,” said Cherington. “From a medical treatment standpoint, he was doing well, he wasn’t really requiring any special attention or treatment. The grind of the major-league season, playing every day, it’s hard to predict what’s going to happen to the body, and since he hadn’t been through it, he may just need to go through it a little more and find himself. Unfortunately, we just weren’t in a position to give him more time. I hope he gets it somewhere else.”

Cherington said that the team didn’t discuss with Sizemore the possibility of a minor league assignment when discussing the decision to remove him from the roster.

“Today wasn’t the time to talk about that. That would be up to him at some point, if he wanted to consider that. I’m sure he’d have opportunities to do that if he wanted to, but I’m guessing he’ll probably try to see if there’s a major-league opportunity out there,” said Cherington. “We’ll be rooting hard for him. We’d all love to see him play in the big leagues and playing well again, and hopefully that happens for him.”

Cherington did say that if Sizemore expressed an interest in playing in the minors for the Sox, the team would “be open to it….But I’d like to give him a little time to sort things out, and hopefully he does find that major league job.” That said, Cherington also suggested that the team was likely to release Sizemore in “the next day or so” to make him a free agent if there are no trade offers for him.

And so, Sizemore — who represented a source of considerable promise this spring as the Sox looked to move on from Jacoby Ellsbury in center field, but whose defensive limitations ultimately moved him out of center field and whose lack of production ultimately cost him an everyday job — is no longer a part of the Sox’ efforts to escape their year-long offensive malaise. The Sox are reaching a point where the need to find immediate solutions outweighed the idea of waiting to see if a former star could reclaim some sustained glimpse of his former status.

“[The release of Sizemore is] symbolic of the fact that things haven’t happened, particularly on the offensive side, the way we wanted or hoped, and we’re still trying to find solutions,” said Cherington. “It’s up to me, it’s up to John, it’s up to all of us to work together to find those, and I still think we will and we can. It’s an ongoing thing.”

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