One of the names being bandied about as a trade candidate this offseason is Curtis Granderson. It stands to reason. He was so useless down the stretch and in the playoffs that he wound up being benched during the ALCS. He only has one year left before hitting free agency, and with the new CBA rules he won’t garner a draft pick for his new team unless he’s traded this winter. That’s not much of a factor, the Yanks don’t make many (if any) midseason deals where they sell off a starting player. But the idea is something you at least have to investigate now as opposed to later if you’re Brian Cashman. He can publicly downplay trade talk all he likes, I don’t take those comments too seriously and chalk them up to positioning. Our own MJR looked at the idea of dealing Grandy last Sunday, but I’d like to explore a different angle.
The Yanks postseason failure was widely attributed to their all-or-nothing offense, lack of productive outs (tied for 10th in AL) and inability to advance runners (tied for 8th). The Yanks ranked 1st in total # of base runners, yet were in a five team tie for 8th for % that actually scored. The only teams less efficient at plating runners were the lowly Indians and Mariners at 13%. They were 2nd to last in the simple task of advancing runners, the only team worse in the American League was the Oakland A’s. Yet they set a team record with 245 HRs, which led them to 808 Runs on the season, 2nd best in the AL behind Texas. Curtis was the poster child for that attack. He hit the 3rd most HRs in the AL and set a team record for strikeouts this year, breaking the all time mark he set himself in 2011. The only player in all of baseball that struck out more than Curtis was Adam Dunn (244). If you want to step away from that brand of baseball, the first place you’d look would be CF.
My first reaction to the idea of dealing Granderson is that, even with his shortcomings, he’s more valuable to the Yanks than he would be elsewhere and other GMs would know that. His swing is tailor made for Yankee Stadium, and his value as a player is largely tied to that power. Here’s his HR spray chart, courtesy of the fine folks over at HitTracker:
I’d recommend clicking the above link and using the overlay feature to further ascertain just how many dingers Curtis would lose if he played elsewhere. For example, if he was back in Detroit he would clearly lose 5 HRs with another 7 being borderline right at the outfield fence. Fences in Detroit range from 8′ to 11′ in height, so its safe to say the majority of the borderline shots would stay in the park. The Phillies have been mentioned as a good fit. Win now team, desperately needs a power hitter and CF. Here’s the overlay for Citizens Bank. Much better, he only loses one HR there, and even that one is borderline. But I’m not sure the Phils have enough to offer that would entice the Yanks to pull the trigger on a deal. Part of a package for Chase Headley? He loses 12 HRs in Petco, and that’s before we even discuss the fact that the Padres won’t want to pay him. How about Justin Upton? He loses a whopping 15 there, and don’t forget that he plays most of his games in similarly spacious ballparks in the NL West.
I suppose you could try to sell the receiving GM that getting Curtis out of Yankee Stadium could have the benefit of having him stop shooting for the short porch and pulling everything, which has contributed to his strike out issues. Not sure I’d buy that one, though. Grandy was pull happy when he came to the Yanks in the spacious confines of CoMerica Park, though it should be noted the only chance a lefty hitter has to get one out of there is to pull it down the line. But regardless, Curtis has been pulling the ball for most of his career and I wouldn’t expect that to change at age 32. So maybe Brian Cashman is telling the truth after all, a deal doesn’t appear all that likely.