Via Joel Sherman the other day -
In a cost-cutting frame of mind, the Tigers have let teams now that Curtis Granderson could be had for the right package, an NL executive told The Post.
Granderson would be attractive to many teams, with the Yankees near the top of the list. They have long searched for a premium solution in center since Bernie Williams left his prime, but now they also face the loss of the lefty power of free agents Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui. Granderson hit a career-high 30 homers last year.
Brian Cashman met with Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski at the now-concluded GM Meetings, but it is not believed the two did any more than discuss needs and available players. However, the two have a good relationship and have done significant trades before, going back to when Dombrowski was in Florida and obtained Mike Lowell from the Yanks to the more recent Gary Sheffield deal and the swap of Kyle Farnsworth for Ivan Rodriguez.
The Yankees have a touted center field prospect in Austin Jackson, who could be the centerpiece for a deal, though Detroit would have a market outside of just The Bronx.
Granderson, who will play at 29 next year, is owed $25.75 million over the next three years and has an option in 2013. He is not a player that Detroit truly wants to trade and neither is the available Edwin Jackson, another player who will draw interest not just from the Yankees, but the Mets, too.
But the Tigers are supporting a top payroll in one of the cities hit hardest by the economic downturn, and they have many long-term commitments to players who are just about untradeable, including Magglio Ordonez, Carlos Guillen, Jeremy Bonderman, Dontrelle Willis and Nate Robertson. In all, the Tigers have 10 players under control for next season at $100 million with arbitration-eligible ace Justin Verlander due a raise to about $7 million, and Jackson and Gerald Laird also in line for big raises.
Granderson does have a downside. He is terrible against lefties (.183 last year) and strikes out a ton (141 times last year) and though he steals bases (20 last year) he is not known as a strong instinctual base stealer. However, his power has blossomed in a park not nearly as becoming to a lefty hitter as Yankee Stadium and he is known as one of the most media friendly and amicable players in the game.
In terms of “make-up,” Granderson is off-the-charts…probably Derek Jeter like, in that regard. If the Yankees don’t bring back Johnny Damon, and could get Granderson in a favorable deal, I would not have any issues with him being their left-fielder in 2010. Of course, yes, it all depends on the cost…in terms of the players New York would have to give up..