Thursday, November 12, 2009

Yankee Rumor Du Jour: Curtis Granderson

As soon as Joel Sherman found out that the Tigers were willing to listen to offers for Curtis Granderson, he immediately speculated that the Yankees would be "near the top of the list" of possible trade partners. This is not a knock against Sherman, who was the one person responsible for consistently churning up "news" at an unusually dull GMs meetings in Chicago while others were content to tell us that nothing was happening. It's his job to concoct interesting theories based on pseudo-facts to keep people reading about baseball even though very little is actually happening.

However, this morning, he really put on his tin foil hat thinking cap and got to work:
Curtis Granderson would be an ideal fit for the Yankees and is available. He is a very good player with a reputation as a better person. So he would enhance both the exceptional lineup and strong clubhouse community the Yankees already have.

GM Brian Cashman’s vision for the Yankees has been younger, more athletic and more cost efficient. Granderson will play next season at 29, which would give the Yankees another prime-aged player in their everyday lineup along with Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher.
The problem is that Granderson is neither younger nor more cost efficient than 25 year old Brett Gardner who will be making close to the Major League minimum this year or 24 year old Melky Cabrera who will take the $1.4M he made last year to arbitration. So trading for Granderson would make the Yankees younger and cheaper, by making them older and more expensive.

To acquire Granderson, Sherman suggests that the Yanks deal Austin Jackson, Ian Kennedy and Zach McAllister and if that doesn't work, take on some players who are very old, extremely overpaid, and can't play the field. Exactly what Cashman was envisioning!
For example, Carlos Guillen has two years at $26 million left. Could the Yankees take that on and hope his deteriorating body and game holds up enough for him to provide switch-hitting depth in left field, first base and DH?

Or do they take on Magglio Ordonez, who is due $18 million next year and has a games started/plate appearance trigger for another $15 million in 2011. Like Guillen, Ordonez’s body and game are wearing out. He did still hit .310 last year, but with just nine homers. He played his best late in the year, hitting .401 from Aug. 1 to the end of the season, a period of 50 games in which he walked (19) more often than he struck out (17).
Sherman also names Nate Robertson ($7M), Jeremy Bonderman ($12M), Dontrelle Willis ($12M), Brandon Inge ($6.6M) and even Miguel Cabrera, who has $126M left on his deal and no ostensible defensive role in the Bronx.

The Yankees have one position that is occupied by truly young and cheap players and that is center field. Could the they stand to upgrade their production there? Yes. Do they need to trade for someone who is owed $32M over the next 4 years to do so? I really don't think so. Should they take on horrible and/or huge contracts from the Tigers in addition to do so? Absolutely not.


  1. I couldn't even see the spend-happy with no real plan Yankees of 2003-2006 doing this. These predictions are so asinine that they don't even warrant speculation.

  2. There is no sense to this...
    Could we talk about the yanks the team of the decade 2000-2009 instead.

  3. Sherman is quite simply out of his mind if he thinks the Yanks should take on any of that gaggle of expensive duds and retreads. Forget Guillen, Ordonez, and those bums masquerading as pitchers. Robertson was always overrated in my mind, and that 3 year/$21 million deal was a joke.

    I am working on a hot stove post, and while I like Granderson and his speed, I think he has become too homer happy. He strikes out too much (141 times twice in the last four years, and a whopping 174 in 2006). His OBP is dragged down oddly enough not by his lack of walking (71 and 71 times in 2008 and 2009, respectively), but the lack of hitting from all the K's and swinging for the fences. He should use his speed more by hitting line drives, and cut down on the strikeouts. Those K's simply won't work at the top of the Yankee order, even though his defense is good and speed great. Nor would I give Jackson and Kennedy for him.

  4. Sorry, 71 and 72 times he walked in the last two years.

  5. Agreed Jason. His HRs did take a significant jump this year (from 22 to 30), but at the expense of his overall line which dropped across the board from .280/.365/.494 to .249/.327/.453.

    His fly ball and especially infield fly ball percentage shot up, signaling, if not a change in approach, a huge flaw in his swing.

    I'd like to hold onto Jackson as well, because the Yanks are already above average in center and if AJax pans out, they'll have someone as good as Granderson for what the Tigers have been paying for him the past couple of years.

  6. I actually think the proposed trade makes quite a bit of sense. Granderson is a good hitter at the front end of his prime and could easily have 6 or 7 productive years ahead of him, especially in Yankee Stadium. If he has a problem with his approach/swing so much the better since that's fixable. I'd probably put him in LF as opposed to CF, but I'd be ok with trading AJax to get him.

  7. Brien - It's not that Granderson as a player wouldn't be a nice addition to the Yankees. He's clearly a better hitter than either Melky or Gardner and wouldn't be a bad fit in LF like you say.

    I was commenting on Sherman's contention that he would fit with Cashman's stated intentions of making the Yankees younger and cheaper this offseason. If it came down to signing Matt Holliday or Jason Bay or trading for Granderson to play LF, I would be all for Granderson.

  8. "I was commenting on Sherman's contention that he would fit with Cashman's stated intentions of making the Yankees younger and cheaper this offseason."

    Oh yeah, no argument there.

  9. Granderson was also atrocious against lefties last year--.183, 2 HR, 9 RBI in 180 at-bats. That's horrible, and a severe regression from his career numbers. I would not trade Jackson for him, not until the Yankees get to evaluate how Jackson can do in the majors. I like Granderson, he's a good guy, good teammate, very speedy, good power. But he has some real swing problems. The Yankees would be trading for a younger Mike Cameron, in essence. No thanks, and not for what the Tigers would likely ask.