Toe in the Water for Granderson?

Before updating some internal developments with the Yankees, it is worth noting that, during the Winter Meetings, there has been some scuttlebutt about Curtis Granderson coming to the Yankees in a proposed three-way deal.  Last night, the asking price according to Buster Olney was too steep for the Yankees’ liking, apparently involving both Phil Hughes and Austin Jackson.  Today, rumor has it that the asking price has come down, with Jackson’s name floated with Ian Kennedy, Phil Coke, and hard-throwing lefty reliever Mike Dunn.  Mark Feinsand has posted that the Yankees thought that price still a bit too high regarding prospects, and may well want to retain Dunn.  To what degree this possible trade has progressed is subject to conjecture, for Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic has termed the possibly big trade as “close” to happening and–literally as I was checking ESPN’s CoverItLive in-box update of the Winter Meetings for who earlier pegged the possibility of a trade as “30 percent” (it was Nick Pietruszkiewicz), I heard the telltale CoverItLive clicker for a new post.  Pietruszkiewicz posted: “From Buster Olney: Source with knowledge of negotiations says Granderson deal is close to being completed.”


How would I feel about it?  Iffy.  I posted back on November 14 that I was “completely unwilling to trade for Granderson if Austin Jackson were demanded in return.”  By and large, I still share that.  I think highly of Granderson’s speed, defense, power, and personality–he’s a very good player and, by all accounts, a good guy.  But to reiterate a few things–Granderson strikes out way too much for my tastes, 141 times in 2007 and 2009, and 174 in 2006.  That’s a real problem in a patient Yankees lineup, especially if Granderson bats lead-off as he likely would.  The second isse is trading Jackson, who is developing well.  Would I swallow Jackson for Granderson?  Other than that I would have to, I guess I would, for Granderson’s contract is very suitable for the Yankees for the next few years.  Granderson is due to make $5.5 million in 2010, $8.25 million in 2011, and $10 million in 2012 with a $13 million option for 2013.  There is also the practical question of whether or not Jackson would be reasonably expected to contribute in the next couple years in The Bronx what Granderson could.  The answer to that is, in all likelihood, no way.  Granderson can and would contribute now, at a high level, and for not too much money.

But the fairer question is whether or not Granderson would contribute what JD would, and that is less certain.  He would certainly steal more, play better defense, and add more speed.  He might also hit as many homers.  But unless Kevin Long finds a way to solve Granderson’s serious K problem, Granderson’s OBP would likely be considerably lower than JD’s .375 in 2008 and .365 last season.  I would also hope that such a move would not preclude the return of both JD and Matsui.  In fact, for 2010, I would hope that acquiring Granderson, combined with Figgins’s signing with Seattle for 4 years, $36 million might peg the price for JD/Matsui near that, give or take a couple million per season.  This would in effect allow the Yanks to still have two very good players for roughly the price of what they paid one last season.  That’s not bad.

Still–and clearly this depends on whether or not any trade for Granderson occurs–I have definite reservations about trading Jackson.  Maybe the Yankees feel that he won’t develop the kind of power that Granderson now possesses.  I really don’t know.  I also admit that part of my feeling is that, with the Yankees finally stockpiling young talent, I fear their reverting to the 1980s form of dealing much of it away.  I don’t want that to happen, especially with the arms.  Speaking of which, this Granderson rumor comes at an intriguing time, for I was going to post a couple days ago about Ian Kennedy, a forgotten Yankee, and the Yankees possibly keeping him as a rotation option for the next couple years.  I waited for a couple reasons.  One was that, with so little going on in hot stove action before the Winter Meetings, there have been so few concrete developments that my impetus for blogging has admittedly been low until I read something firm.

**As if on cue, via ESPN’s CoverItLive update: Nick Pietruszkiewicz: From Buster: The sides are on the verge of wrapping up the Granderson deal.**

That might be firming up…and, via Chad Jennings, Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated just wrote this via Twitter: “teams in agreement on trade. assuming medicals check out, it’s a go.” As with all deals, I will wait for final confirmation on this.  Until then, it is an enticing rumor, but just that.

Another is that I have yet to sort out how I feel about Kennedy, who bounced back nicely from some hard luck to do decently in the Arizona Fall League (2-1, 4.25 ERA 28K in 29 2/3 IP) after a strong comeback stint in SWB (1-0, 1.59 ERA, 25 K in 22 2/3 IP) and pitched out of a big 8th jam in setup work in a big 3-2 win on getaway day in Anaheim September 23.  But has he been solid on my baseball radar?  Not really, and I would accept his involvement in a deal for Granderson.  I would accept Coke’s as well.  It’s Jackson and his talent that has me questioning this, to be honest.  Again, we’ll see.

In other news, and as Mike Sommer posted in a comment yesterday, the Yankees traded Brian Bruney to the Nationals for a player to be named later.  Nothing against the guy, but he won’t be missed too much.  A hard thrower, Bruney started 2009 well before developing plantar fasciitis in his foot and, when he returned, so did his intermittent allergic reaction to the strike zone.  His 5-0, 3.92 ERA with 36 K in 39 IP were on the whole good, but mask 23 walks and 6 homers in those 39 innings, as well as the muttering of epithets from Yankees fans everywhere as Bruney frequently fell behind batters before walking or coughing up taters to them.  The Yankees have plenty of middle relief options.  That said, I wish the guy the best of luck.  He got himself in shape, and I didn’t much mind his ranking on K-Rod.  Probably his best moment with the Yankees was his 1 2/3 perfect innings of setup work in the September 27 clincher against Boston, a 4-2 win, when he received a standing ovation from an appreciative Yankee Stadium, prompting tears from Bruney.

Negotiations between the Yanks and Pettite for his return are set to begin and, apparently, a priority for the Yankees.  Good.  Make it so.

Published in: on December 8, 2009 at 1:27 pm  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I love the trade to be honnest I don’t like trading Ajax but he is a prospect there is everychance he won’t make it. I read that the MLB scouts were 50/50 on him soem think he will be good some not he struck out 123 times in AAA last year that isnt good with not much power. Im not too bothered losing IPK and Coke we have allot of pitching prospects and relief so they can be replaced. I think Grandy will hit 35+ homers steal over 30 bases I think its a great trade for us with great defence.

    As for Bruney when he was are best guy after Mo when he wasn’t injured or lying about injures but he was very bad second half of the year and got injured allot I think this is a good trade from Cash we get the first pick in the Rule 5 draft win-win for me.

  2. I don’t think that it is really that fair to ask if Granderson is better than Damon. Think of it as a way to speed up Jackson’s development. They still have the opportunity to retain Damon if they want to.

  3. After some re-thinking, Nick, I have come around on the Granderson trade. I am still wary of his K’s and problems against lefties. But he is a hell of a player both offensively and defensively. His stroke for the short porch in right and speed for the spacious outfield will work very well in Yankee Stadium. I also consider him eminently likable, which with his hard-working demeanor and personality should endear him to both the fans and his teammates, already a tightly knit group.

    Rob, I didn’t ask Granderson to be better than JD, but rather to “contribute what JD would,” which I certainly think is fair. I mean this more with his average and OBP than with his homers. Considering Granderson hit .302/.361 in 2007, and .280/.365 in 2008, that would be fine with me and comparable to JD in pinstripes–.285/.359 in 2006, .270/.351 in 2007, .303/.375 in 2008, and .282/.365 in 2009. You’re absolutely right to look at it as speeding up Jackson’s development while, to me and as I just wrote in a new post, getting a guy who has already performed at a very high level, who has realized the potential. I agree about JD, which I mentioned above and in the recent post. I hope they do, either he or Matsui, but doubt both. JD would give them a viable fourth OF and a DH who, unlike Matsui, could step right in and play a decent left.

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