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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. METS -RULE - Dec 8, 2009 at 3:51 PM


  2. gary - Dec 8, 2009 at 3:54 PM

    All of a sudden all of the experts say Granderson can’t hit lefties. I suggest you go back and look at his stats 2 yrs ago. Frankly, the idea of Granderson as a Yankee kills me as a Tiger fan. I think Dumbrowski (yes, I spelled right) got his pocket picked twice. He let Polanco go to cut salary and let Granderson go for ostensibly the same reason. Yet, he made a command decision to keep an older and declining player (Magglio) who makes more in one season than Polanco/Granderson together and in so doing gutted the heart of the Tiger defense. I think I’m a Yankee fan now.

  3. Enron - Dec 8, 2009 at 3:56 PM

    Just when I finally learned everyones name on the Yankees… : (

  4. Don in Dallas - Dec 8, 2009 at 3:59 PM

    Granderson is not old, and he comes with a reasonable contract.
    Kennedy was a failure and an A-hole; Coke is a mild loss that can be replaced (its only early December, lots can happen before Spring Training – Sherrill?) Jackson is the only loss – but the hope is he turns into someone Granderson is NOW. Gillberg, if you have been a Yankee fan for the past 10 years you should know they want to win every year and not build for the future – the future will bring other Grandersons. And Teixeiras. And Sabathias.
    This was a terible trade for Arizona BTW.

  5. gillberg - Dec 8, 2009 at 4:06 PM

    This is my final post but did you notice that they started buying players the year after they lost a title? Before 2002 and Giambi, the highest contract was Clemens and O’Neil. All the transcations were people like Scott Brosius, Chuck Knoblouch, and Chad Curtis. (I can’t speel their names). after 2001 is when they became obsessed.

  6. Renegade - Dec 8, 2009 at 4:09 PM

    DD should have offered arbitration to Polanco.
    However, what is your proposal for Magglio? His contract is guaranteed and it would be extremely difficult to trade him.

  7. Talex - Dec 8, 2009 at 4:15 PM

    This is a great move for Arizona. A great move for Detriot. And a terrible, terrible move for the Yankees.
    Granderson goes against everything the Yankees have been doing the last 15 years. He is THE VERY WORSE left-handed hitter in baseball against lefties (he hit .158 against lefties last year). He strikes out almost more than anyone else in baseball. His on-base percentage is EXTREMELY WEEK!–.327–are you kidding me? Even Melky Cabrara is around .360. And he’s an okay centerfielder. So what if he hits 30 plus homeruns, which he has only done once. He’s Rob Deer people!
    Detriot got 1 good young starter, 2 good young relievers, and a very good young centerfielder–he’ll be much better than Granderson, because Austin Jackson is a more rounded ballplayer; he hits for average, power, and can steal bases and he’s an excellant defender.
    The D-Backs got a very good proven starter in Jackson, and I hate to tell everyone this, but Ian Kennedy is going to be a stud if he stays healthy. He has 4 pitches he throws for strikes, is afraid of no one and nothing, and he knows how to pitch. Barring injury he’ll be better than Jackson and he is going to have the best year out of anyone in this trade next year.
    And to the idiot who said he “was the bridge to Rivera”–are you smoking crack? Kennedy is a starter. Never was going to be a reliever. And the D-Backs did the right thing. The Yankees and Brian Cashman are delionsional if they think having 30 homer guys at every position is the way to win. Getting guys who are constantly on base and making pitchers work and throw a lot of pitchers is how you win. Granderson makes no sense at all!

  8. Jason - Dec 8, 2009 at 4:18 PM

    you are an idiot. Cashman doesn’t know what he is doing? Did you forget that the Yanks won the World Series this year? I have always been a one year at a time guy. You strive to win it all each year, not worry about the future. At least that is my take. Some prospect will eventually come along to take Austin Jackson’s place. I’m not worried about it.

  9. TrueBlue - Dec 8, 2009 at 4:19 PM

    The Yankees have nothing to lose. If Granderson doesn’t work out, NY can always go out and buy the best player available at the end of the year. They do it every year anyway.

  10. bigmamaherp - Dec 8, 2009 at 4:19 PM

    ****** right man!! great deal for the yanks the down side is we lose coke who will turn out to be a great young reliever….

  11. gary - Dec 8, 2009 at 4:19 PM

    Renegade: The Tigs had an opportunity to get rid of Magglio this year by denying him the requisite number of at-bats which would trigger (and which did trigger) his option which the Tigers were then obligated to pick up. He was hitting virtually nothing for the first half of the season and more when they announced that they would continue to play him without regard to the option and are now stuck with his contract for at least another year after he achieved the at-bats required.

  12. Jim - Dec 8, 2009 at 4:21 PM

    as a tigers fan, im pissed as Granderson is a great hitter and cf’er. I also HATE the yankees (though lots of people hate the red wings too :-D)
    but, i have to say, hearing this froma twins fan is relieving…

  13. jayindetro - Dec 8, 2009 at 4:23 PM

    YANKEE FANS: Stop complaining. Grandy had a bad year last year. If he resurges (he will) back to 2006-2008 form, he is going to be a Super Star. He hit Twenty Triples in Comerica Park a few years back, and 20 Homers. In Yankee stadium, most of those will be Homers. He is super fast and covers alot of ground. His head was not in the game this year, he will back next year and almost every Tiger fan in Detroit will be crying in his beer.

  14. gary - Dec 8, 2009 at 4:23 PM

    I do not see how anyone can truly believe that the Tigers “prevailed” on anything when they gave up a premier defensive centerfielder with 30 homer pop in his bat and 30 steals in his legs for a sore-armed starter who pitched less than .500 ball and also give up Edwin Jackson in the process. Again, Dumbrowski got “skinned”.

  15. Talex - Dec 8, 2009 at 4:27 PM

    P.S. – In 2007 Ian Kennedy started 3 games after he came up from the minors and did not pitch in relief at all. He had a 1.89 ERA in those 3 starts. In 2008 he pitched with a broken rib and he was 0-4 in 9 starts and 1 relief appearance. This year he pitch 1 inning in relief and didn’t give up a run. He was not a reliever ever!!!! And he was a former #1 pick, so that’s what type of pitcher he is. He was a stud in college. A stud in the Yankees minor leagues. And he’s been hit with injuries (last year’s was a freak thing with the blood clot). He was pitching incredible at Triple A in 2009 when he got the aneurysm.
    Watch for him. He’s going to be a big time pitcher!

  16. paul - Dec 8, 2009 at 4:29 PM

    You dot ever have to worry about the Tigers. They always fold in August & September. It’s happened ever year since Leyland has been there.

  17. jayindetroit - Dec 8, 2009 at 4:29 PM

    The Tig’s thought they were in a pennant race last year, and Magglio was the only one hitting (albeit singles – but lots of them), please stop saying we should not have given him the at bats. Without him, the Tig’s would have lost first place much earlier, and attendance dollars in the process.
    Another point on Mags: His wife was sick last year. He was distracted. He will be back to old form this year, barring injury. Sure he will continue to hit more singles, but his RBI numbers should be back up. (Then again, with Grandy and Polanco gone, who will be on base ahead of him?????)

  18. DiamondDuq - Dec 8, 2009 at 4:35 PM

    This was a terrible move for the Yankees. They lost valuable pieces that could have been used for more impactful players (Halladay) as well as swap a guy who’s going to be 23 in February who’s a potential .300 hitter for a guy who’s going to be 29 in March with diminishing range and who hit .249 this year with 141 strikeouts. The Yankees don’t need a 30 homerun hitting centerfielder with diminishing range whose OBP is lower than Jeter’s BA, they need a guy who can cover a lot of ground in CF, hit around .300, not strikeout a lot, steal some bases and get on base for their run producers. I’d much rather see Melky in CF for one more year and then A-Jax or at the very least at least trade for a CF that fits their needs and on top of that Kennedy, Jackson, Coke would likely be included in a Halladay deal in addition to Joba. What a terrible move for the Yanks!

  19. EDWARD GRAVES harrison michigan - Dec 8, 2009 at 4:42 PM

    same old tigers been watching for 70 years same old tigers
    1934 1945 1968 1984 (2006 close) then wait another 18 to 20 years same old tigers. cant get excited any more.

  20. DaveNYC - Dec 8, 2009 at 4:44 PM

    This is a very bad trade for the Yankees. Granderson isn’t even that good. Austin Jackson hit .300+ with 24 HR for the Yankees in triple A. Why get Granderson if they can just promote Jackson? Jackson hit less than .200 with only 2 HRs in 180 AB against left handed pitching. Overall, he’s only hitting .249 with 24 HRs and less than 80 RBIs. The Yanks should’ve used Jackson, Joba and Jesus Montero in a package for Roy Halliday instead. We didn’t even need Granderson. We can just resign Damon for LF, Swisher in RF, and Melky/Gardner in CF. We didn’t need to give up on Jackson.

  21. Tom - Dec 8, 2009 at 4:51 PM

    I’ve watched Granderson play possibly 400 games…he is an extremely good defensive centerfielder…great glove, good arm…

  22. hop - Dec 8, 2009 at 4:52 PM

    Great move Cashman, you locked up a good solid player in his prime and didnt even give up that much! Lets get Halladay next and REPEAT!

  23. royboy - Dec 8, 2009 at 4:56 PM

    I think this 50 second clip from Seinfeld expresses how I feel about giving up Jackson for Granderson (just switch the names featured in the clip and insert Cashman for Steinbrenner)

  24. bh0673 - Dec 8, 2009 at 5:04 PM

    I have question whether the Yankees really got their monies worth we will all have to see how this plays out next year and in the future but I think the Yankees gave up too much for Granderson.

  25. Mike O - Dec 8, 2009 at 5:06 PM

    Hahaha agreed. Not only did we lose AJAX, we now have Marte and Dunn as our lefty relievers. There’s a reason Marte was a Pirate and not to mention, Dunn’s a converted outfielder.

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