No doubt by now you have probably devoured just about everything you can find about the New York Yankees acquisition of Curtis Granderson from Detroit via a three-team trade. Well, when it comes to trades you can never get enough opinions, so here is a little more.
I thought I would start by getting thoughts from the writers here at PA, so below are a variety of opinions from us -- and from some other sources.
Here is my take.
Initially, I thought the Yankees were nuts to give up so much for Granderson. I said as much Tuesday morning. In retrospect, I was hasty. I really don't think the Yankees are giving up that much at all.
Jackson could someday be what Granderson is now. But, I doubt it. He doesn't hit with any power, and I think it's hard to project him as a 20+ home run player in the big leagues. It's just as likely that Jackson will be Ricky Ledee, or not as good as Melky Cabrera and Brett Gardner. We'll see.
Kennedy? Nothing more than pitching depth. He will never be a front-line guy. Coke? He's an average lefty, not really difficult to replace.
As for Granderson himself, I know all about the lefty/right splits. I don't care. He's a good player with a perfect Yankee Stadium swing, and he is younger and more cost-effective than Johnny Damon. If Damon comes back to the Yankees now, he will come back at a reduced rate.
So, all in all, from purely a Yankee perspective, I have no problem with this move. And if it saves them money and resources to go chase Roy Halladay, all the better.
If Curtis Granderson was a free agent, he would probably rank #2 behind Matt Holliday on the list of best available position players. Admittedly, comparing him to Holliday or Jason Bay is comparing apples to oranges, but Granderson has been worth 14.4 WARP over the past three seasons, compared to 18.7 for Holliday and 6.5 for Bay. And let's not forget that he's signed for about half of Bay's price tag and a third of Holliday's pipe dream/asking price.
For the Yankees, it now frees up the Melky Cabrera/Brett Gardner combo for fourth outfielder duty, or trade bait, either of which makes sense. Neither hits well enough to start in any outfield position but center, but would make for a useful bench player.
It's hard to say how good Austin Jackson might become, but even if everything breaks right it's probably going to be a few years until we know for sure. Jackson's real value at the moment is that he's probably ready for a major league job but doesn't make much; money being a non-factor for the Yankees, it's a stretch to project anybody to develop into a top-5 center fielder like Granderson. So they've essentially swapped the long-term future for the near-term future. I don't mind it.
I hate to see Kennedy go as well, but it was probably going to take two significant injuries to better pitchers for him to see significant action out of the rotation this year, so perhaps this change of scenery will give him the opportunity to reach the majors, for good, faster.
Overall I think the Yankees came out on top in this deal, and I'm also really not sure what the Diamondbacks were thinking.
From 'Travis', adding to the thoughts he posted last night.
I was surprised, because the Yanks seemed to think very highly of Kennedy and Jackson. But overall, I liked the deal. They got a very good centerfielder (with a reasonable contract) without giving up Joba, Hughes or Montero, and for that, we should be happy.
Jackson was rightfully a highly-touted prospect, but his ceiling essentially is Granderson.
Kennedy has lost a lot of luster in the past couple years, but his minor league stats show a dominant pitcher. If he ever translates that to the majors, he could be a very good starter (especially in the NL West). What we'll miss more in the immediate future is his addition to the bullpen, where I feel he would've been an asset in 2010. But in the long term, it's not a big loss. There are several other pitchers in the minors with higher ceilings (Banuelos, Brackman, Betances, Heredia), and it would've been tough for Kennedy to crack the rotation of an elite team like the Yankees who can sign a CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett in the same off-season.
It's actually hard to get a read on what we'll get from Granderson. He had his worst full season ever in 2009, so are the Yanks getting a declining player or merely 'buying low'? Considering an inordinately low BABIP and a very solid line-drive rate (right in line with his career average) makes me think Cashman is buying low. Throw in Yankee Stadium's 'friendliness' to left-handed hitters, and it makes the trade look even better.
The real question is what position he'll play. Unless he plays a markedly better centerfield than Melky/Gardner in spring training, I believe he should be the leftfielder. His defensive stats from the last couple years have been average at best, while Melky and Gardner have been solidly above average. Another question is whether he'll play against lefty pitchers. Melky has better career numbers against lefties, so will Granderson ride the bench on those days?
All things considered, I dislike the deal. Austin Jackson and IPK represented two of our biggest trade chips; to deal them both and bring back only a position player in return seems like selling low to me, especially because the position player has questionable platoon splits.
Here's my take on it, giving as much credit to Cash and crew as possible:
Just like Cashman overspent on starting pitch last season because he saw the lack of options in the '09 offseason, Cash has looked at next offseason and he sees what its strengths and weaknesses will be. The top players who could be on the market include Mauer, Crawford, Beckett, Halladay, Webb, Lee, plus Jeter and Rivera. No centerfielders in the batch, and cost controlling now could leave more flexibility later.
The folks at SB Nation HQ, or SBNation.com, think the Yankees are the clear winners in this trade. Oh, and they think the Diamondbacks got hosed!
What does Damon think of the deal, since it might have knocked him out of New York? He still thinks he could be a Yankee in 2010.
"I think there’s still a window for me to come back," Damon said. "I don’t know why certain people say certain things about me. The bottom line is, I’ve been one of the best players in the league for a long time, and I’ve shown it the past couple of years. I think early on last season my defense was a little bit erratic, but once I figured out the ballpark and figured a few things out, I got better and I actually was a positive for us. That’s the thing I kind of don’t understand. I think our coaches liked the way I play defense. I know that I can do a lot of cool things."
Damon has to know, though, that the window is now a lot smaller. And it will put a lot less greenbacks in his bank account.
You guys also seem to have a mixed reaction, though the majority who have voted in our poll say they either like it or love it. If you haven't voted yet, be sure you do.
- ESPN's Keith Law wonders what Arizona was thinking.
- SI.com's Tom Verducci says the Yankees are not only rich, but extraordinarily smart, as well.
- Detroit Free Press columnist Drew Sharp is sad to see Granderson leave Detroit.