News out of New York this evening is that the Yankees are on the verge of a three-way trade for Detroit Tigers center fielder Curtis Granderson. New York will apparently have to give up little beyond a small assortment of prospects and spare parts to obtain the 28-year-old All Star. This trade couldn’t have cost the Yankees less if it had been brokered in a Wal-Mart.
Such news comes as little surprise to me, as I had long heard rumors that Granderson could matriculate to New York. And while I would sooner ingest napalm or attend a Backstreet Boys reunion concert or endure a multi-level marketing seminar than cheer the Yankees to yet another pennant, I like this move. Granderson belongs in New York– the thought of him in pinstripes just seems to make sense to me, for some reason. Together with Nick Swisher and someone like Matt Holliday, who could easily wind up a Yankee this winter as well, Granderson could help comprise the most formidable outfield in baseball.
Granderson has many reasons to look forward to the move, starting with his batting average. The Tigers’ home field, Comerica Park, boasts spacious dimensions (420 feet to center, no shorter than 330 to any fence) that I figured would be perfect for Granderson’s blend of offense, allowing ample room for him to crank 20 triples a year. Granderson always struck me as a throwback player, someone who would have been perfect in the Major League of the early twentieth century when owners deliberately had 500-foot playing fields to encourage inside the park home runs. Not so, I found.
Looking over Granderson’s career splits, he generally hit about 20 points lower at Comerica than on the road. This past year, he hit .230 there, leading to just a .249 overall batting average. The new Yankee Stadium has shorter distances to the fences, and Granderson will also be in arguably the strongest lineup in baseball (I could probably hit .330 with Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira guarding me.) Expect Granderson’s batting average to improve, markedly too. The Bronx could see the second coming of Alfonso Soriano with Granderson, not that’s necessarily a reason to get ecstatic.
The benefit for the reigning World Series champion Yankees is clear. Quite simply, it looks to be a case of the rich getting richer. While the aging Hideki Matsui and Johnny Damon likely get their walking papers, the Yankees solidify their outfield for the next half decade, minimum. Yankee fans get a reason to cheer. Meanwhile, all us normal folk get yet another reason to hate the team.