We most likely have seen the last of Curtis Granderson in a Yankee uniform. On Monday, he officially declined the Yankees’ qualifying offer of just over $14 million for one-year, thus making him a free agent. Entering his age 33 season, the chances of the Yankees signing him to a multi-year deal are slim-to-none.
Granderson likely finishes his Yankee career with a .245/.335/.495 slash line with 115 home runs and 307 RBI over 513 games. His 2013 season was marred by freak injuries in which he broke bones in his forearm and wrist on two separate occasions. There was speculation that Granderson would accept the qualifying offer because of a down season, but he obviously feels his value hasn’t been diminished. Granderson is probably looking for a Nick Swisher-type deal – 3-4 years worth $60 million.
Granderson’s numbers across the board, minus power and run production, have decreased over the last couple of years. He no longer uses his speed, and was moved from center field in favor of Brett Gardner. The Yankees’ decision to let him walk will only end up being a positive. They’ll save money, and the long, slow agony of maybe another albatross contract.
However, the name of the game is run production, and Granderson has been one of the top guys in Major League Baseball over the last few seasons in that category. He finished second in the American League in home runs in 2011 and 2012 with 41 and 43 respectively. He lead the AL in RBI in ’11 with 119, and lead all of MLB in runs scored that year with 136.
How do the Yankees fill in a 40 homer, 100 RBI guy? Is 37-year-old Carlos Beltran the answer? He has knee problems, and would also be wanting a multi-year deal.
Do they sign Shin-Soo Choo? The dynamic leadoff hitter is an on-base machine, almost single-handedly turning the Cincinnati Reds from worst to first in team OBP (Choo’s OBP was .423 in 2013). Choo doesn’t hit lefties well at all, and would almost have to sit against them. It’s been reported that he wants a deal north of $100 million. Would the Yankees sign longtime rival Jacoby Ellsbury? He’s injury prone and would also come at a steep price. Or, would they stick with the (brutal) platoon of Ichiro Suzuki and Vernon Wells?
However you look at it, the Yankees lost a big bat in an already weak lineup. It was at the GM meetings in 2009 that Brian Cashman laid the groundwork for the trade that brought in Granderson. Will he try to do the same thing this week?