Aug 22, 2013; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees center fielder Curtis Granderson (14) rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run against the Toronto Blue Jays during the fifth inning of a game at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Rising Apple Weighs In: The Granderson Signing

Earlier today, the Mets came to terms with free agent outfielder Curtis Granderson on a four year deal worth $60 million dollars.

The signing came after nearly a week of negotiations, and after many in the fanbase began to question whether the Mets would make an “impact” move this offseason.  Some accused the Mets of lying to their fans, and expected that the club would go into the 2014 campaign with a roster filled in by minimum salary acquisitions and a lower payroll than 2013.

The above never seemed rational or likely, and the Mets squashed that line of thinking today when they signed Granderson.  Below, the Rising Apple staff weighs in on the signing – both baseball wise, and regarding what it means for the direction and perception of the franchise…

Danny Abriano, Editor:

First, let’s address Granderson.  He’ll be 33 before the 2014 season begins, and was held back by two freak injuries (broken bones from being hit two separate pitches) in 2013. Granderson is a legitimate power threat, and there’s no reason to think he won’t continue to be one with the Mets.  Like most players, he was his flaws, but this was a risk the Mets were right to take.  In his chat yesterday, Keith Law of ESPN felt that a four year deal for $60 million would be a solid move for the Mets (he thought the deal wouldn’t go far into Granderson’s decline phase, and it turns out that those were the exact terms.

As far as the franchise as a whole is concerned, this signing means that the Mets and their fans can finally put the Bernard Madoff mess in the rearview mirror.  The Mets did spend $138 million to lock up David Wright last year, but the Granderson signing was the first big expenditure of the Sandy Alderson era.  Unless the Mets revert back to their ways of the last three offseasons, today will be remembered as the day the handcuffs came off.  This signing reminded me of the Pedro Martinez signing in 2004.  Not because Pedro and Granderson are comparable as far as expected impact, but because the signing seemed like a first step and a new beginning.

Mike Lecolant, Senior Staff Writer:

The Mets clearly needed a slugging outfielder. So the question is, how well does Curtis Granderson satisfy that need?

I do not think the Mets will be getting the Granderson who posted 40 home run and 100+ RBI seasons with the Yankees. For the Mets, that may be a good thing. Curtis may have found Yankee Stadium’s right field porch maybe too inviting, because although his power numbers increased, other offensive aspects of his game plummeted. He was a .272 career hitter with the Tigers, but fell to .244 with the Yankees. Curtis has a career .340 OBP, but posted a .319 OBP in 2012, and a .317 mark during an injury filled 2013 season; his two lowest marks since 2005, when he posted a .314 OBP in only 47 games. Strikeouts have always been an issue for him, but he at least draws a good number of walks.

Curtis has slugged over .500 in a season twice – once for the Tigers and once for the Yanks. Otherwise, he is a career .488 slugger, who can certainly be depended on for 25 home runs or so. While he may have benefited from hitting in Yankee Stadium, his power still translated well on the road. If he recaptures his Tiger Stadium approach at the plate, the Mets will benefit more. He led the A.L. in triples twice while playing for the Tigers, so there’s hope a spacious park like Citi Field can bring his doubles totals up considerably.

The Mets needed to furnish David Wright with some kind of protection in the line-up. So, signing Curtis Granderson is a positive step forward, but nowhere near being a solution. He is not a difference maker, but is someone who can be a key player on a good team. For a few years, the Mets have potentially stabilized at least one outfield position.

Image wise, the club needed to get this deal done.

Sam Maxwell, Staff Writer:

As you can hear on some early offseason Rising Apple Reports, I was not a fan of signing Curtis Granderson. I thought for sure his power wouldn’t translate after calling that Little League stadium in the Bronx home for a few years. More and more, though, based on some analysis from people in favor of the move, I came around to its potential.

Between the power, who he was in a much more even-keeled Comerica Park with Detroit, his ability to get on base, his plus defense, and his positive clubhouse presence, the positives of the move outweighed the negatives. We have found the run-producing outfielder we craved. Hopefully he is exactly that going forward.

Will DeBoer, Staff Writer:

The Mets say the timing of the signing had nothing to do with the Robinson Cano deal, which was announced about an hour before, but I have to wonder if they saw Seattle toss in another year for Cano and thought four years wasn’t so bad. In any case, $60 million over four years seems like a steal in today’s market.

People are concerned that Granderson is going to become another Jason Bay. Even if he doesn’t live up to expectations, he’d have to fall pretty far to be considered on Bay’s level (Jason hit 26 home runs over three years with the Mets; Curtis should get that in a year, maybe a little more). Sure, like Bay, he’s going to strike out a lot, but everyone does nowadays, so it’s really not that big of a deal.

Granderson also brings more tools to the table than Bay did: whereas Bay was a big bat and not much else, Granderson brings (left-handed) power, speed, and fielding to the equation. Flanking Juan Lagares with Curtis Granderson and Chris Young could make the Mets the best defensive outfield in baseball. In addition, whereas part of Bay’s problems may have come from the pressure of playing in New York, we know Granderson won’t have that problem at all. Coming from the side of town with even more pressure, Curtis may even feel a weight lifted from his shoulders.

Overall, I’m quite excited the Mets signed Curtis Granderson. He brings a lot of skills to the table and is one of the nicest guys in baseball. It’ll be wonderful to have him around the clubhouse (with Justin Turner‘s impending departure, maybe he’ll pick up pie-in-the-face duties) and representing the team in the community. Hopefully this isn’t the be-all, end-all of Sandy Alderson’s moves this offseason, but it’s a heck of a start.

Now I just need to come up with some modified lyrics to his song…

Who can help the Mets rise?
Make the wins accrue?
Hit 30 home runs and play a mean left field, too?
The Grandy Man! (The Grandy Man!)
The Grandy Man can! (The Grandy Man can!)
The Grandy Man can, ’cause he plays the game with love
And makes the team feel good!

Tin Pan Alley, here I come.

Kevin Baez, Staff Writer:

I am very much in favor of the Mets signing Granderson, as I think he fits the needs of the current team — speed, power, solid defense in the outfield and most importantly the ability to handle New York — but Granderson shouldn’t be the main protection in the starting lineup for David Wright that manger Terry Collins alluded to earlier this offseason.

Granderson is an upgrade to what we had in the starting lineup and will be a great clubhouse presence, but I expect Alderson to continue to add pieces via trade during the Winter Meetings.

Rich Sparago, Staff Writer:

Going into the off-season, Sandy Alderson knew he needed outfielders and power. Two weeks ago, he partially filled those needs by signing Chris Young. Today, he took a major step toward completing the task by signing Curtis Granderson. While Granderson isn’t the perfect player (no one is), he’s a very good fit for the Mets. He’ll bring power, solid defense, and some speed to the lineup. Given the outfield choices that were available, signing Granderson was an excellent move. Alderson was able to keep the contract reasonable at 4 years and $60 million, and provide a shot of energy to the team and its fans. In addition, by using free agency to fill the outfield needs, Alderson still has his trade chips available to seek a shortstop, a starting pitcher, and possibly a bullpen piece.

The question now is how the Mets’ outfield will look in 2014. This will largely depend upon other moves that may be made. Right now, the outfield could be Eric Young, Jr./Curtis Granderson/Chris Young, or Granderson/Juan Lagares/Chris Young. However, if the Mets trade Daniel Murphy, they may try Eric Young Jr, at second base. Regardless of the construct of the outfield, it will be a better unit, both offensively and defensively, next year. The bottom line is that the Mets are a better team with Curtis Granderson. They still have work to do, but the fan base can finally feel good about the team’s commitment to improving the product on the field.

Dan Haefeli, Staff Writer:

It’s been said that Curtis Granderson isn’t a perfect player, but few are. Nonetheless, he represents an important addition to the Mets for the next four seasons. He represents a power presence the Mets have lacked over the past few seasons, and goes a long way toward stabilizing the outfield. The defensive presence of Granderson, Lagares, and Chris Young cannot be understated, especially in a park as spacious as ours.

We’ve looked to the 2014 off season with expectations of contention. I don’t know if the Mets can win with their current roster, but there is certainly potential. This signing goes a long way to that end; it represents the best combination of ability, potential, and value on the market.

The work isn’t yet done. But the foundation is being poured as we speak. Welcome to the Mets, Curtis.

Shannon Finkel, Staff Writer:

The Curtis Granderson signing might not instantly make the Mets contenders, but it was a move that was necessary. The team needed to make a splash this offseason – without overpaying, of course – and address their outfield issues. Sandy Alderson did exactly this by signing a player who will give the line-up the defensive boost and power bat they desperately need.

According to ESPN, Granderson ranks 5th in all of baseball in fewest at-bats per home run over last 3 seasons, with 15.3. Many fans have expressed concern that his power won’t translate to Citi Field – however, Hit Tracker Online measured that just 9 of Granderson’s 91 home runs between 2011 and 2013 would not have been out in Queens.

Granderson’s strikeout rate and average are certainly things to watch out for, particularly when sharing a line-up with Ike Davis, provided he is the starting first baseman next year. In addition, the Mets still have many holes to fill this offseason – but at least this signing is a start.

Andrew Battifarano, Staff Writer:

As soon as the offseason began, I started looking at potential outfielders the Mets could target. During the World Series, I noticed Curtis Granderson was available and wrote a piece on him being a possible corner outfielder for the Mets in 2014. After all of the negotiations over the past week or so, to finally hear that he is going to be a Met, I am thrilled. Yes, his power numbers from 2011 and 2012 will probably not be there in Citi Field, but I still think getting Granderson was a great call.

For one, he provides great protection for the middle of the order, namely for David Wright. While he most likely won’t get as many homers in 2014, he’ still a legitimate power threat and should be one for the next couple of seasons.

Even though his range over the past few years has declined, he can still go and get the ball, and with Juan Lagares and Chris Young in the outfield with him, he’ll have to do a little less running. The outfield defense will be tremendously improved, and could be one the strengths of this 2014 squad.

Granderson adds a solid dimension to the lineup and will be one of those guys who’s a great teammate and community leader. He’s known for his charitable work and ability to get along with his fellow teammates, so that is also a huge plus.

When it’s all said and done, I’m really happy with the move. I would have preferred it to be a three-year deal, but for the money he was given, four was not the end of the world. The Granderson move is a good one, but not the only one that needs to be made. However, it is a step in the right direction, and it’s a good feeling to see the Mets go out and spend.

Chris Schubert, Staff Writer:

The signing of Curtis Granderson today is about more than just acquiring a player for next season. This signing symbolizes a change in how the Mets are going to advance. It’s no longer about rebuilding, stockpiling draft picks and talent (although that is still a part of it). Focus has now been shifted onto making improvements at the big-league level from the outside. This is the biggest contract that Alderson has given under his tenure as Mets GM.

This move is only the beginning of the off-season for the Mets and Sandy Alderson. With his power hitting outfielder signed, he will now turn his focus to fixing the shortstop position and shoring up the back end of the rotation. At least that’s where his focus should be. I hope this isn’t the only big move this off-season. A lot of work still needs to be done and should be done next week at the Winter Meetings in Florida.

Alderson didn’t compromise much, and kept Granderson in the price range the Mets were looking for. That’s what good GM’s do. Now that he got Granderson to buy into the Mets, it’s time to get others to buy into the transformation that is happening in Flushing.

Cassie Negley, Staff Writer:

The Grandy Man can.

He can lift up the spirits of the other New York team.

Mets fans can calm down a little bit with the big signing of Granderson. I’m iffy on signing an outfielder. I’d rather see a big shortstop signing this offseason, but that can still happen – and picking up Granderson was too big of an opportunity to pass up.

Sandy and the crew are showing they want to win and they’ll make the moves to do it. What a rare occurrence for we faithful.
Most comforting is his power hitting ability. Offense wins you baseball games. How many times have we seen Harvey lose a 1-0 game? Here’s hoping Granderson proves to be a good addition to the team, because Mets fans have been through enough.

 

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