Does trading Curtis Granderson make sense?

I’m fond of writing “what a difference a year makes” on this site, but in the case of Curtis Granderson you have to ask what a difference a few games make? Granderson had an odd season. He hit a career high 43 homers, but he also had a career worst .319 on base percentage. After his phenomenal, .393 wOBA 2011 campaign Granderson submitted a disappointing 2012, becoming the ultimate binary outcome player: strike out or home run. He did not show up for the 2012 playoffs at all, making the perception that he had a poor season that much worse. Now, as the Yankees look to re-tool, Granderson’s name is circulating as a possible trade candidate. Should the Yankees pull the trigger?

Obviously, any player should be traded for the right price (provided he doesn’t have a no trade clause). So what I’m really asking is if the Yankees can get fair value in return for Granderson? As frustrating as Granderson’s .232/.319/.492 season was, he remains a young, affordable option in Center with above average offensive production for the position. The Center Fielders who had stronger offensive seasons than Curtis are all among the very best in the game, players such as Mike Trout or Andrew McCutchen. Furthermore, Curtis may have only registered 2.6 fWAR this season, but that figure is misleading. Fangraphs hates Curtis’ defense and rates him as a -17.8 run UZR fielder for 2012. That seems extreme. Removing the defensive statistics makes Curtis closer to a four win player. You don’t trade four win players because it is almost impossible to get fair value in return.

The facts remain that in 2013 Granderson will be only 32 years old. He’ll cost the Yankees only $13 million dollars. He still figures to be an offensive contributor and he has the potential to bounce back in terms of his average. (Curtis BABIP was just .260 this past season, well below his .305 career average.) Given his age and pending free agency the Yankees would be selling low to trade Granderson now. It is unlikely the team would get back fair value and nearly impossible for the team to turn him into a younger, longer term contributor. It makes more sense for the Yankees to exercise their option on Curtis and bring him back for another season. Given his commitment to improving his game odds are the Yankees would be trading one Curtis Granderson for a better Curtis Granderson.

5 thoughts on “Does trading Curtis Granderson make sense?

  1. As nice a guy as he is we need players that can make contact with the ball. Striking out that many times is unforgivable. I say trade and get what you can 3b or pitching or another OF. Heck even a future shortstop would be OK.

  2. Of the four prominent post-season flops (remember they didn’t hit against Baltimore either), ARod, Granderson, Swisher and Cano, only Cano merits re-signing. The only way Granderson or Swisher stays is if they sign for less and the Yankees can’t get any value for them (or have any promising prospects). Despite HRs, they just whiff way too much. ARod could be excused if his hand/wrist injury explains his collapse. But, if the Yankees could get someone decent for him, he should go as well. This team won 95 games despite itself. It never provided any feeling of confidence, and barely held on vs. Baltimore. The seeming nonchalance when getting bullied by Detroit shows a bad karma within the clubhouse, not as bad as last year’s Red Sox (which apparently was toxic), but bad in the sense of no enthusiasm and complacency with losing. Some house-cleaning is in order. My OF remains Jeter in LF, Gardner (or some Granderson replacement) in CF, and Ichiro in RF.

  3. Granderson is something of an interesting case. There seems to be a ubiquitous assumption that this year was, at least in many ways, a down year, if not an outright fluke. However, I’m not sure the numbers bear that out. Consider the following wRC+ numbers:

    06 – 99
    07 – 136
    08 – 127
    09 – 101
    10 – 111
    11 – 146
    12 – 116
    Career – 119

    Under the totality of circumstances, his 2012 looks an awful lot like his career norms. It also fits in with his three-year stretch between his two best seasons. The only real statistical outliers are his BABIP and his K%. The former is somewhat tough to explain away (though it isn’t too far off of his 09-10 rate) … but this was the fourth year in a row his K% increased. Both may be explained by him swinging for the fences, so to speak, as his HR/FB has increased for three consecutive seasons as well – though, much of this can be attributed to the move from Comerica to NYS.

    Rambling nonsense aside, what I’m getting at is I think that it may be safest to peg Granderson as a player along the lines of his career norms. Which, of course, is still insanely valuable – but less so than we may think when salivating over his 2011 season.

  4. The BABIP as Yankees for both Granderson & Tex are will below their BABIP prior to playing 81 games at YS3. Is that indicative of them becoming pull happy? Maybe, but Swisher’s BABIP is actually higher.

    Has anyone done a study comparing BABIP of pull hitters with power versus power hitters who use more of the field?