The trade details, via Tyler Kepner -
Curtis Granderson is the Yankees’ new center fielder, coming over from the Detroit Tigers in a three-way deal that also included the Arizona Diamondbacks. The deal, which is pending approval of medical records, will send outfielder Austin Jackson and reliever Phil Coke to Detroit and starter Ian Kennedy to Arizona.
The Diamondbacks will also receive starter Edwin Jackson from the Tigers, who will also get starter Max Scherzer and reliever Daniel Schlereth from Arizona.
I’m only going to comment on the Yankees end – since I really don’t care about the Tigers and D-backs.
What the Yankees gave up: Austin Jackson, Phil Coke and Ian Kennedy. And, what the Yankees got: Curtis Granderson.
Ian Kennedy is a AAAA-pitcher. Maybe he’ll be effective in the big leagues, at times? But, too much has to be perfect for him to excel at the major league level. Basically, he was expendable.
Phil Coke is a nice kid and has a bulldog attitude towards pitching. But, he’s probably never going to be better than he was this season and could be worse. He’s a “nice to have” pitcher – but, he’s not a “can’t do without pitcher.”
Basically, the thing the Yankees gave up here was Austin Jackson – their best position playing Triple-A prospect. Now, back in August, I asked this question about “A-Jax”:
Is he a true blue-chip prospect as the Yankees say, or, is he just a good athlete who will never be a solid, everyday, major league player?
And, today, we still don’t know the answer to that question. It may take another couple of years to get that answer – maybe more.
This brings us to Curtis Granderson. Last month, I had this to say about him:
In terms of “make-up,” Granderson is off-the-charts…probably Derek Jeter like, in that regard.
And, I still stand by that comment. But, what about his on-the-field production? Well, first off, he doesn’t hit LHP – at all. See his career splits in that regard:
I Split G PA H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG vs RHP as LH 618 2211 572 102 51 86 245 229 449 .292 .367 .528 vs LHP as LH 305 685 130 23 6 16 54 45 169 .210 .270 .344
Further, as a center fielder, he leaves something to be desired. Note his 1.6 UZR/150 in CF in 2009 and his -9.4 UZR/150 in CF in 2008.
If the Yankees end up playing Curtis Granderson in left field next season and give him the day off when the likes of Jon Lester, John Danks, Mark Buehrle, Dallas Braden, David Price or Joe Saunders is starting for the other team, he should be a fine addition to their team – all things considered.
But, if the Yankees are going to play Curtis Granderson everday, against all pitching, he’s probably going to bat between .260 and .275 with an OBA around .350. And, if they play him in center, at best, he’ll match what Melky Cabrera did out there with the glove and will not be as good, defensively, as Brett Gardner.
So, is this a smart trade by Brian Cashman? It sort of depends on how the Yankees use Granderson and how Austin Jackson develops. Let’s just hope it turns out better than the last three-team deal that Cashman brokered with the Tigers being involved.