Evil Empire strikes again

8 12 2009

If you’re a Yankees fan and know about the Curtis Granderson trade, you probably can’t stop smiling. And rightly so. The Yanks took a very productive step toward upgrading their club for a run at a second straight World Series title.

Pending physicals, the Yankees will receive Granderson from the Tigers and a couple prospects from the Diamondbacks (although you can call them the D-bags). The Tigers will acquire stud right-hander Max Scherzer from the D-backs along with Daniel Schlereth, highly-acclaimed outfield prospect Austin Jackson from the Yanks and a couple other prospects from New York. The D-backs will get Ian Kennedy from the Yanks and Edwin Jackson from the Tigers. Although their desire to be included in this trade is perplexing (back to that in a minute).

Granderson is 28, plays a good center field (and would play an excellent left field), runs well, has underrated power, hits well enough (though not against lefties) and is a “community” guy. In other words, he’s a player a team likes to send into the community as a face of the franchise. He’s articulate, good-tempered and seems like a solid clubhouse presence. His contract runs for three more seasons at $25.75 million, so it’s not like the Yanks have to shell out big-time dough for him. Just a solid all-around move to give the club another elite 20-something player in addition to the Teixeira and Sabathia signings last winter. Yanks fans will love the guy as their leadoff or second hitter.

The Tigers needed an infusion of younger studs after dealing two of their best (Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller) for Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis a couple years ago. Dealing Granderson hurts (their owner wants to pare down the payroll) and it really was unnecessary had they better managed their finances. Remember, they gave Willis an unfathomable $29 million extension a few years ago even as the lefty was heading into the toilet. Then they let Magglio Ordonez attain enough at-bats last season to activate his $18 million option for 2010. That’s $47 million that could have been freed up had the Tigers done what was reasonable at each instance and not extend Willis or play Mags every day. Now Detroit fans have to pay for it by seeing their second best player and most likable guy on another team. (Cabrera is their most notable player but probably isn’t the most appealing to fans after driving with a .26 BAC and beating up his wife during Detroit’s division title run in October.)

The upside is their 1-2-3 starters go Justin Verlander-Rick Porcello-Scherzer. Holy crap, watch out AL Central. That’s a hell of a collection of flame throwers, all of whom are under 28. They just have to hope Jackson can live up to the billing he had in the Yanks’ farm system.

As for Arizona’s inclusion in this trade, well, nobody gets it. Scherzer is a 25-year-old strikeout pitcher who would be a great third starter next year with Dan Haren and Brandon Webb (assuming he returns fully healthy). Instead, they get Jackson, who’s already at his peak on a club which won’t contend for another couple years, and Kennedy, who failed miserably with the Yankees. It seems like they made only a lateral move while losing one of the best strikeout pitchers in the game without obtaining a high-end prospect. Can’t figure that one out. Maybe they know something about Kennedy no one else does.

Anyway, all my Yankees friends seem to be excited about this and they should be. The top of the batting lineup will go Jeter, Granderson (or vice versa), Teixeira, A-Rod with Posada, Cano, Swisher following them. That’s unreal. Granderson is already a good candidate for 30-plus homers given that he’ll aim for Yankee Stadium’s cheap seats in right field.

Now let’s see how the Red Sox answer this move.

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One response

9 12 2009
Jeff

granderson’s defense has been a little suspect, but i think he’ll adjust better in the new yankee stadium as opposed to comerica. he was great offensively down the stretch, but his defense really hurt the tigers in their last week of play.

the upside is obvious for the yanks (like that team needs more speed and power in their offense), but i think the tigers come out pretty well too. dombrowski know’s he overextended the payroll for a run that didn’t really pan out the past 2 years, but he’s dumping salary while grabbing arguably the best center field prospect. they’ll still compete in a fairly weak AL central next year and could do some damage a few years after.

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