Grady Sizemore, who has been out after microfracture surgery, is off the d.l. and hitting leadoff for the Indians today.
So...why should Ranger fans care?
Well, despite their 10-4 start, Cleveland is a team that seems unlikely to be in the playoff hunt this year. Sizemore is under contract for $7.5 million this season, with an $8.5 million team option for 2012. Given the team is in rebuilding mode and Sizemore isn't far from free agency, he's someone you would think would be available in July should the Indians be out of the race.
And the Rangers, as we've discussed, could well be in the market for a centerfielder come July, if Julio Borbon doesn't get his bat going.
Whether Sizemore is a legitimate option is going to depend on how his knee holds up and how much of his speed he's lost...he was considered a very good defender in center prior to the injury, but if he's slowed post-injury, he may be more of a corner outfielder now, much like Carlos Beltran is.
Ideally, you'd like to see Borbon get it going and make this issue moot...but if he's not hitting come Independence Day, the Rangers will have little choice but to see what is out there and available in the trade market.
Sizemore, Michael Bourn, and Marlon Byrd would all be attractive trade options for the Rangers, as they are under team control at non-onerous dollar figures through the 2012 season. One would assume that, if they were to trade for a centerfielder, they'd include Borbon as part of the trade package...he still is going to have some trade value in July, even if he doesn't hit, although he's clearly not going to be the centerpiece of a deal.
And by acquiring a centerfielder who is under team control through 2012, it gives the Rangers time to see how Leonys Martin and Engel Beltre, their two in-house options for centerfield, develop. Neither is likely to be ready for the start of the 2012 season, but if either pans out, then the start of the 2013 season is a likely ETA.