Tuesday, December 8, 2009

What's Being Said About The Granderson Trade

Since the trade is seemingly official, it's time to round up some reactions for the deal that saw the Yankees give up Austin Jackson, Ian Kennedy and Phil Coke, the Diamondbacks surrender Max Scherzer and Daniel Schlereth and the Tigers deal Edwin Jackson and Curtis Granderson. MLBTR weighs in with the salary implications and when the dust settles, here's where they all end up:
  • Yankees get Granderson
  • Diamondbacks get Edwin Jackson and Ian Kennedy
  • Tigers get Austin Jackson, Max Scherzer, Phil Coke and Daniel Schlereth
It's sad to see Austin Jackson go but I don't think we are going to miss Ian Kennedy or Phil Coke all that much. Kennedy was not likely to start for the Yanks anytime soon and Coke - although he was solid for long stretches - was victimized by his high HR rate.

Granderson is not without his flaws, namely abysmal production against LHP, but he's relatively inexpensive for a player of his caliber. I would personally love to see Granderson play LF in the Bronx. Teams like the Rays and Mariners have stashed players capable of playing CF at corner OF positions (Carl Crawford, Ichiro) and seen good results, but most of the talk has assumed Granderson will be playing CF. For what it's worth, UZR hasn't thought very highly of his defense in CF over the past two years and the Yankees have a serviceable duo in CF already. Should Granderson want to take over that slot, it may require further maneuvering.

Now for some other reactions...

Dave Cameron absolutely loves the deal for the Yankees:
From the Yankees perspective, this deal is almost too good to be true. Heading into his age 29 season, Granderson is a legitimate +4 win center fielder signed to a bargain contract for the next four years. I ranked him as the 22nd most valuable asset in terms of trade value in baseball over the summer, and the Yankees are getting him for a variety pack of role players. He instantly makes their team better, giving them a legitimate all-star center fielder who should thrive in Yankee Stadium. For as much as the Yankees have a payroll advantage, they continue to win because Brian Cashman targets the right players. Granderson is a fantastic acquisition for them.
Matthew Pouliot from Circling the Bases agrees that they made out well.
Granderson's defense has slipped a bit and it looks like he'll always be a liability against lefties, but he still brings quite a bit to the table and he should put up some big numbers in center field for the Yankees. His contract is also manageable, as he's due $5.5 million next year, $8.25 million in 2011, $10 million in 2012 and then $13 million or a $2 million buyout in 2013.

Perhaps the Yankees should have just signed Mike Cameron instead, but the price for Granderson was right. Austin Jackson was the only piece they gave up likely to play a big role going forward.
Joel Sherman analyzes the loss of Austin Jackson:
The tough player for the Yankees to lose in this swap was Austin Jackson. In recent years, the Yankees have protected Jackson when, for example, the Nationals asked for him in July 2006 for Alfonso Soriano and Seattle asked for him last July for Jarrod Washburn.

But the reality is, if Jackson maximizes his talent, he probably would be just a cost-efficient version of Granderson.
Greg Fertel at Pending Pinstripes thinks a rebound is likely for Granderson:
Curtis Granderson had somewhat of a down year in 2009, posting a wOBA of .340 compared to his career mark of .358, but he plays a good center field and should be able to rebound. The short porch in left field should allow him to improve his power numbers and a rebound on batted balls in play should make his overall hitting like look quite a bit better.

In 2009, he hit only .276 on balls in play. Due to his speed, he has been able to maintain an above average mark of .323 for his career. Even though he hit markedly more fly balls in '09, it is unlikely that he posts a BABIP as low as .276 in the upcoming seasons.
More on this later, obviously.


  1. I think this was a great move by New York. Glad you already posted your Minor League Monday on Austin Jackson, lol! But considering what we gave up, I think Grandseron is coming at a very reasonable price. I DID see Jackson a few times when Scranton came to Durham and to be perfectly honest (not that I'd lie), I was not entirely impressed by Jackson. He didn't strike me as a such a star in the making (even if he is) and I think Granderson fits well in NY and relatively cheap. Works for Detroit too actually. They will like Scherzer pitching for them.

  2. My initial reaction to this was definite shock. I felt an attachment to Kennedy (saw him pitch a lot in the minors and was even at his Major League debut) and was intrigued by Jackson's potential (screw Coke and his deep fly balls). My initial glance at Granderson's stats told me this was a dumb move.

    But I'm starting to come around a little. At least, at worst, it's a gamble and not a guaranteed dud.

    Initially, all I could picture was Granderson striking out in high leverage situations against an endless parade of lefties. I'm starting to come around to the idea that he probably won't be allowed to bat in late game situations like this, and that his bat will do very well against right-handed starters in the Stadium. His fielding looks pretty good and may be very good in left (at least, it's a definite improvement over Damon). Best part though, he's young.

    We'll see how it works and where he fits. Can't wait to see the more in-depth analyses on this one.

  3. From everything I've read, anyone who doesn't expect the Yankees to rob everyone blinde, likes this deal. I mean, the worst thing you can say about Granderson is his batting against lefties and Chad Jennings made a good point when he brought up Paul O'Neil. It is something he can work on.

  4. The Payroll flexibility alone makes this a huge win for the Yankees. Now go out and get us a # 2.

  5. FA pitchers this year scare me--even Lackey. Burnett is already in the rotation, and is injury-prone enough as it is.

  6. As you know, I initially hated this due to Granderson's decline in OPS since 2007. However, I realize that AJax's potential will equal Granderson. I guess I was overvaluing AJax. The fact that he would not sniff the Bronx due to power and patience concerns until 2011 makes it more palatable. I could not care less about Coke (horrible 2nd half) and Kennedy obviously wasn't in the mix as he recovered from his affliction and is 25 years old. Good job, Cash.