The 2013 World Series is starting tomorrow, and most of the Mets Universe is focusing on Carlos Beltran finally making it to the World Series. The eight-time All-Star after many fruitless attempts has finally made it to the Fall Classic. With him being in the limelight again, many fans have speculated about a potential return of Beltran to Flushing. While there is a possibility that the slugger could come back to Citi Field next season, it does not seem probable, especially with his age (he’ll turn 37 next April) and the reports coming out that the crosstown rival Yankees could be interested in acquiring him.
While the Yankees could look to bolster their outfield with Beltran in right field, they also will most likely offer a significant deal to their free agent second baseman Robinson Cano, although the $300 million he is looking for over 10 years may be too pricey for even them.
However, if the boys from the Bronx do go all-in on guys like Cano, Beltran and even catcher Brian McCann, that leaves room for guys on their team to walk away in free agency. One of those players may be outfielder Curtis Granderson. With the power he brings to the table, the Mets could take a look at bringing him in to fill a corner spot if the price fits.
Since Beltran departed from the Mets, other than Marlon Byrd‘s terrific campaign this season, the team has lacked in the power department, especially in the outfield. Not only that, but with Ike Davis‘ noted struggles and Lucas Duda‘s inconsistency, the team has not had a hitter to protect David Wright in the lineup on a consistent basis. While Wright has been fantastic the last two years, his numbers were off of the charts with Beltran and Carlos Delgado in the lineup around him. Having another player that’s a threat in the middle of the order is obviously important.
Many might be hesitant regarding Granderson possibly filling that role, though. One, he played for the Yankees, and two he just came off of a season where he only competed in 61 games. While it is worth noting that Granderson was injured for most of last year, he is not known as an injury-prone player. On the first at-bat of Spring Training this year, Granderson was drilled on the hand, breaking bones. He came back on May 24th, was hit in the hand again, and had to miss more time – some pretty bad luck.
While in an earlier piece on Rising Apple it was noted that outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury has been oft-injured, Granderson is not known as a guy who is always on the disabled list. Since coming up with the Tigers in 2006, Granderson has played fewer than 140 games just once, not including this year.
However, on the field, Granderson has brought in solid power with both the Tigers and Yankees. While his batting average has not been spectacular since coming to the Bronx, he hit at least 20 homers in every season of his career after his first year (not including this past injury-plagued season). In 2011 and 2012 with the Yankees, he drilled 41 and 43 homers, respectively, although some of that may be due to the small depths of the Yankee Stadium walls. In 2009 with the Tigers, however, he drilled 30 homers while playing half of his games in the large expanses of Comerica Park in Detroit.
While his OBP has been up-and-down throughout his entire career and stands at .340, his slugging has been a bright spot, leading to a solid .825 OPS. To put that number in perspective, two of last year’s outfielders, Juan Lagares and Eric Young, Jr., have a combined career OPS of .971, although Lagares has only played one season in the Majors.
While Granderson can drive the ball out of the ballpark, one of his downfalls is his strikeout rate. Throughout his entire career his strikeout rate has been fairly consistent, but has been high at 26%. Although striking out about a quarter of the time is not something to write home about, it is something that happens with many power hitters.
Granderson has been a center fielder for the majority of his career, and has been on SportsCenter his fair share of times with spectacular plays. While he’s posted solid defensive runs saved numbers on occasion, going as high as 14, he’s been down the last few years, posting -12 and -11 in that category in 2011 and 2012. He has a career 3.9 UZR in center field , much lower than Lagares’s tremendous 24.4 a season ago. While Granderson isn’t the outfielder Juan Lagares is and is projected to be, Granderson would move to a corner spot, likely left field, if he came over to Queens.
Many think the Mets will go after Shin-Soo Choo this off season because of his ability to to be a solid leadoff man and get on base. It is thought, however, that Choo is seeking more than four years guaranteed, something the Mets have been thought to not want to offer. If the organization wants to break out of the mold of going after high OBP guys with power potential, Granderson should be someone to consider.