After he declined the Yankees’ qualifying offer this week, Curtis Granderson officially became a free agent. His name is being linked to the Mets, who are looking to add power and outfielders for 2014. Earlier this week, there were rumors that the Mets were very interested in Granderson. Those rumors were later refuted by a statement from an anonymous Mets source, who indicated that any talk of interest in Granderson has been overstated. Here are some thoughts on pros and cons of signing Granderson.
The Case For Granderson:
The Mets need power, and well, Granderson has it. Last year was an injury-plagued campaign for Granderson, during which he hit 7 home runs in only 214 at-bats. In his three prior seaosns with the Yankees, Granderson hit 24 (2010), 41 (2011), and 43 (2012) home runs. His numbers may be somewhat skewed by the short dimensions at Yankee Stadium. Looking back at his seasons in Detroit (far more similar to Citi Field than Yankee Stadium), Granderson averaged 24 home runs per season over 4 full years. However, on a power-starved team like the Mets, those home run numbers would look good, even if he ends up somewhere in the middle of his Detroit and New York statistics. Granderson also plays good defense (primarily centerfield), with a career UZR of 3.9 (placing him close to “above average.”) The Mets have been aggressive on the bases, and Granderson would not hurt that philosophy. He averages approximately 17 stolen bases per year, and has a success rate of 77%.
The Case Against Granderson:
Let’s start here: Granderson strikes out often, and this is not consistent with the Mets’ OBP philosophy. In fact, Granderson averages 159 strikeouts per season over his 10-year career. Looking at that a little more deeply, Granderson, in his career, has swung at approximately 41% of the pitches he sees, and has missed on 54% of those swings. His career OBP is a respectable .340, with an average of 70 walks per season. However, Sandy Alderson said on Friday that the team’s approach is to get into hitter’s counts, and with that said, Granderson does not seem to align. Curtis is a career .261 hitter, which isn’t all that bad, but may be somewhat short of what the Mets may be looking for from a new outfielder. Additional factors working against Granderson will be his contract demands, and his age. Curtis made $15 million last season at age 32, and will likely be seeking more than that per season over 3-4 years. For 2014, $15 million would equate to close to half of what Alderson has to spend, and he’d still have many holes to fill.
I think Granderson is an ideal fit for the Mets. Yes, he does have a hitting approach that may not be in tune with the team’s mantra. However, he brings much-needed power, and a demonstrated ability to perform in New York. While he would command significant dollars, the Mets could use the trade route to fill other key holes (such as acquiring a mid-level outfielder and shortstop). They could use their remaining money to add a veteran pitcher, a reliever, and backup catcher (though I like Anthony Recker.) This week, we heard the Mets say that they want to add “nice guys” this off-season. Granderson is a very good fit in this regard. He’s very involved in charity work, and has led several such causes in New York. As fans, we have to accept the reality that the Mets will not be adding All-Stars with every new player for 2014. However, it’s fair to expect to have one solid centerpiece acquisition, and add around that player. I say let’s make Granderson the centerpiece for the “new faces” that Sandy Alderson referred to in his interviews on Friday.
What do you think?