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Yanks, Tigers prevail in 3-team Granderson deal

Dec 8, 2009, 2:09 PM EDT

Thumbnail image for granderson tigers.jpgThe incredible thing is that the Diamondbacks were supposed to be the driving force behind the whole thing.
Maybe GM Josh Byrnes was simply so eager to get the deal done that he lost his way, but it looks like the Diamondbacks are really losing out in the three-team deal sending Curtis Granderson to New York, Max Scherzer to Detroit and Edwin Jackson to Arizona.
The full deal (ages as of Opening Day, 2010):
New York gets
Granderson (29) – from Detroit
Detroit gets
Scherzer (25) – from Arizona
Austin Jackson (23) – from New York
Daniel Schlereth (23) – from Arizona
Phil Coke (27) – from New York
Arizona gets
Edwin Jackson (26) – from Detroit
Ian Kennedy (25) – from New York
One can make a case for Scherzer as the most valuable player in the deal. The 11th overall pick in the 2006 draft went 9-11 with a 4.12 ERA in his first full major league season. Now that sounds pretty unremarkable, but along the way, he fanned 174 in 170 1/3 innings. Scherzer’s 92-96 mph fastball and slider are both strikeout pitches. His changeup lags behind, but he could turn into a legitimate top-30 starter.
The concern with Scherzer is durability. He’s had some shoulder problems, and the Diamondbacks must not be sold on him developing into a reliable 200-inning-per-year guy. That’s the only reason it makes any sense to trade him for Edwin Jackson.
Not that Jackson is chopped liver. He was one of the AL’s best pitchers for five months last season before tumbling in September and finishing 13-9 with a 3.62 ERA. But Jackson is just two years away from free agency and is going to make at least $5 million next season. If he turns in another strong campaign, he’ll be due $8 million-$10 million in 2011. Scherzer is five years away from free agency. If Jackson is the slightly better bet on the mound for the next two years, the difference in salaries more than makes up for it.
The secondary pieces in the deal don’t even it up for the Diamondbacks. Schlereth was their top pick in the 2008 draft. The left-hander is purely a reliever and he has command issues, but he’s also a strikeout machine with his 92-95 mph fastball and hard curve. He could battle it out with Ryan Perry to be the Tigers’ long-term closer (pending a still possible Joel Zumaya comeback).
Kennedy was viewed as a legitimate No. 3 starter two years ago, but he faltered badly for the Yankees in 2008 and he missed most of last season following surgery for an aneurysm under his armpit. His fastball is below average, but he does have a four-pitch arsenal that could make him a decent enough National League pitcher. Ideally, he’s a cheap No. 4 now. He is worth gambling on, yet I’d still rather have Schlereth going forward.
So, the Diamondbacks lose. And I think it’s a big enough loss to make the deal a win for the other two teams.
Granderson’s defense has slipped a bit and it looks like he’ll always be a liability against lefties, but he still brings quite a bit to the table and he should put up some big numbers in center field for the Yankees. His contract is also manageable, as he’s due $5.5 million next year, $8.25 million in 2011, $10 million in 2012 and then $13 million or a $2 million buyout in 2013.
Perhaps the Yankees should have just signed Mike Cameron instead, but the price for Granderson was right. Austin Jackson was the only piece they gave up likely to play a big role going forward.
Austin Jackson becomes the Tigers’ center fielder of the future, if not the present. He got off to a big start in Triple-A last season, but he fell to .300/.354/.405 by season’s end, suggesting that he could use one more year at the level. The Tigers may give him a job now, though, since they need to get cheaper and justify the trade. Jackson projects as an above average regular, but not a star. He has enough range to stay in center for a few years, but he’ll likely need to move to a corner someday. Offensively, he should hit for fine averages and deliver 20 homers per year in his prime.
Scherzer should open the year as the Tigers’ third starter, and Schlereth will have every opportunity to compete for a bullpen spot. Coke, a homer-prone lefty with a solid fastball-slider combo, could be tried as a starter. The Tigers might now have the financial flexibility to up their bid for a veteran closer and take a look at some potential fourth starters and outfielders. They could definitely use a top-of-the-order guy with both Granderson and Placido Polanco gone.
With Granderson in New York, it seems awfully unlikely that the Yankees will re-sign both Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui. Everyone seems to think Damon is the better bet to stay. Melky Cabrera should be available in trade talks, but Brett Gardner is also a candidate to go. Since he, like Granderson, is a left-handed hitter, he’d probably be less useful as a reserve than Cabrera going forward.

  1. JBerardi - Dec 8, 2009 at 2:47 PM

    I dare anyone to justify this as a good trade for the Diamondbacks.

  2. Joey B - Dec 8, 2009 at 2:51 PM

    I think you need to be a scout to really know, but this looks pretty good for Detroit, good for the NYY, and I have no idea what AZ was thinking. AJax is likely overrated, but could be a good, cheap OF for Det for a fair amount of time. Add to that a good SP, and two quality BP arms.
    EJax looks like a win-now type of gambit, which is not the AZ mode. If he does well, they still don’t threaten LA or CO, but would cost a lot of money. I think they’d be better off with the two controlled players, and probably better off with Schlereth in the minors for developmental purposes, looking at 2011 and beyond.

  3. Simon DelMonte - Dec 8, 2009 at 2:55 PM

    Not sure that Granderson is worth 3 prospects to a team that could sign whoever it wants. I guess they are serious about cutting payroll.
    I think they might regret giving up Coke from a bullpen that was revealed to be thin in the playoffs, and I think that trading Austin Jackson indicates that maybe Cashman isn’t as into the Halladay sweepstakes as I thought.
    Meanwhile, is that Scott Boras I hear gasping? Is this a sign that the Yankees really aren’t in the Holliday hunt? Or is this like the Swisher deal last year?

  4. Dan - Dec 8, 2009 at 3:00 PM

    As a Twins fan, I’m mortified at the idea of facing Verlander-Porcello-Scherzer

  5. bob - Dec 8, 2009 at 3:15 PM

    this is an incredibly good trade for the diamondbacks.

  6. wickethewok - Dec 8, 2009 at 3:17 PM

    Yanks still need a right-handed platoon partner for Granderson, as Cabrera and Gardner both fair worse against LHP (against LHP Granderson is worse than Adam Everett). How about Rocco Baldelli?

  7. Jason - Dec 8, 2009 at 3:20 PM

    WHOA.. I live here in Arizona and I do follow the Dbax.. WTF is wrong with the GM here? Him & Ken Kendrick both need to go.. Scherzer is a hell of a pitcher, and so is Schlereth. Both had good followings here in the desert.. Something is afoot with the Dbax.. When you have a starting rotation with Webb (when healthy probably 1 or 2 in the MLB as a SP) with Haren & Scherzer thats a nice 1-2-3 punch.. Not many teams a a 1-2-3 that is solid.. Get rid of often injured Eric Byrnes & take Josh with you.. They must really want to force the big names out, but why?

  8. gillberg - Dec 8, 2009 at 3:23 PM

    What part of “rebuild for the future” are the Yankees not getting. Jackson’s a future all star and our best prospect, Ian Kennedy was supposed to be Mo’s bridge. Fuck you Cashman, you don’t know what the hell you’re doing. I’m done watching baseball for 10 years now >:0

  9. YANKEES1996 - Dec 8, 2009 at 3:23 PM

    Damn, we lost Phil Coke, A-Jax and Kennedy for what? I’ll tell you what an average centerfielder who can’t hit lefties. I sincerly hope that this is the small move before the big move!! The bullpen was good in the post season and now we are dismantling it.
    Since we traded A-Jax I don’t think we can trade both Cabrera and Gardner, but this move does seem to make sense when you talk about bringing Damon back. If we had to trade those guys though I would have preferred to have traded them for Halladay!

  10. Moose - Dec 8, 2009 at 3:25 PM

    I don’t understand what the Yankees are doing. As the old saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I can understand the Yankees tinkering around the edges a little bit, but I don’t understand why they would make any drastic changes. They need to keep their young talent for the future.

  11. SDTom - Dec 8, 2009 at 3:29 PM

    And how are they going to get their payroll under $180m now?
    Seriously, if you are able to rip other teams off in trades simply because you are able to afford a players salary, would that fall under “buying a title?”

  12. Jeff - Dec 8, 2009 at 3:30 PM

    …and also a bullpen stud lefty in Schlereth to face Mauer, Morneau, Kubel, etc.

  13. richm - Dec 8, 2009 at 3:34 PM

    Gilberg: That is a pretty strong reaction after the Yankees just won the WS for the 27th time(5th time in past 13 years)! I’m guessing you aren’t really that much of a fan if you are willing to jump ship after an early pre-season trade when you have no idea what else the Yanks will do for the next several months. Count to 10 and take a few deep breaths! Yikes!

  14. Bill Taylor - Dec 8, 2009 at 3:34 PM

    Granderson is a young player…not yet 30…I think this is a great addition to the team…need a lefty in the bullpen…Darren Oliver is out there for the taking…or perhaps George Sherrill…I’m looking at granderson in Center, melky in Left and Swisher in Right…possibly resigning Damon…i think it makes more sense to resign Matsui though…fulltime DH, not sure that Damon would go for part time service in the OF. Alot of speed has been added to the offense and defense.

  15. gillberg - Dec 8, 2009 at 3:37 PM

    My point was that we have enough young, farm raised prospects to win a title without buying huge free agent’s contracts, yet the Yankees are greedy and trying to win immediately instead of building a long-term franchise so they trade the prospects for players that have 5 good years left in them and make the fans pay extra.

  16. jimv - Dec 8, 2009 at 3:38 PM

    you dont know jack bout baseball moron. its awesome

  17. JackCoyote - Dec 8, 2009 at 3:40 PM

    Not sure what Yanks are thinking here. Granderson below average defender, can’t hit lefties at all. Basically trading the potential of AJax, plus Coke and Kennedy, for a platoon player. Wrong direction for an aging team. Grade: D-

  18. jimv - Dec 8, 2009 at 3:42 PM

    jackson is going to hit 40 homers and get 130 rbi. arizona is big winner with this trade.

  19. PilotHawkeye - Dec 8, 2009 at 3:43 PM

    That’s 2 relievers the Yankees got rid of within 24 hours. With a pitching staff that is rather thin, does this mean Phil Hughes is now the 5th starter, and Chamberlin is now in the pen? Yankees are short a few good arms, especially if Petite decides to retire.
    I am disappointed that Gardner looks like he will be leaving the Yankees, as he brings a lot of intangibles to the table, most notewothy is his base stealing ability.
    This also looks like Matsui will go to the Mariners. Thank you Hedaki, for all your hard work over the years.
    I knew that this was going to be an interesting off season!!!

  20. KDO - Dec 8, 2009 at 3:44 PM

    Gillberg – what are you talking about!?
    Ian Kennedy was never, ever mentioned as “Mo’s bridge” – where did you get that from!
    As for building for the future – dude, Granderson is in his late 20’s…..a few years older than Jackson…but so what!? Its not like they got Mike Cameron or something.
    I think you need to watch more games dude.

  21. jimv - Dec 8, 2009 at 3:44 PM

    has anybody heard the rumor that gary carter will be named the new manager of the mets after christmas.

  22. mick-7-1961 - Dec 8, 2009 at 3:48 PM

    Hold up, fellow Yankee fans…they said the same thing about Sabathia…over the hill, won’t contribute, etc.
    Although, I’m not overly thrilled over the Granderson deal, they know what they’re doing and they’ll repeat in ’10

  23. gillberg - Dec 8, 2009 at 3:48 PM

    When Ian was in the bullpen in 2007, he was awesome, like Joba was, the problem was that he was rushed to the rotation. Jackson’s 22 and very talented, Granderson costs more and can’t hit lefties. Real Yankee fans study their prospects too and I assure you that this was a horrible trade.

  24. jp - Dec 8, 2009 at 3:49 PM

    today is definitely a sad day for this tigers fan…

  25. John - Dec 8, 2009 at 3:50 PM

    I would have kept Jackson, but maybe Granderson could up his home run production in the new Yankee Stadium

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