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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. YANKEES1996 - Dec 8, 2009 at 5:15 PM

    Hold up everyone, this Granderson thing is a joke!! Think about this the team is OLDER and the outfield is the area this offseason to make changes to, so what do, we do go out and trade our youth for a position player that is on the FA market, and the players on the market are better than the one we traded for!
    If payroll is an issue then let Matsui and Damon and Nady go thereby reducing the payroll and then sign Holliday or Bay. The younger guys are still around and we have gotten a better player, and the money that was cleared would have most certainly been enough to sign one of those guys.
    Talking about pitching if the younger guys are still in the system we could have packaged them and talked to Toronto about Halladay, it seems as though that his worth is dropping everyday. We could have had him for about the same as we gave for Granderson. I don’t mind trading young guys but lets at least get something that is worth the players we are trading away. The pitching in the post season was good and at least we are getting Andy back for one more year, but if the Yanks don’t shore up the pitching this year with at least one top of the rotation guy it may bite us in the bag for several years forward. The guys that we traded were good prospects, and another thing that bothers me is that the ones we traded were not given legitimate chances at starting jobs. I don’t know maybe I’m cynical, but I just don’t think the Yanks got the best side of this trade.

  2. sjcards32 - Dec 8, 2009 at 5:16 PM

    Please tell me when Austin Jackson hit for power hes over rated decent defense and good avg. Im not sure he is better than Melky.

  3. MLB Rainmaker - Dec 8, 2009 at 5:25 PM

    I’m sick of people going crazy over prospects. Edwin Jackson posted a 3.62 ERA in the AL, compared to Scherzer putting up a 4.12 in the NL. Take a look at pitchers moving back and forth between leagues. Scherzer doesn’t control the strike zone, has had injury issues in the past, and is only a year younger than Jackson. I’ll give you that Scherzer has a touch more upside, because of his team control, but thats still not a terrible deal if its just a swap of those two.
    On top of that, the D-backs get Kennedy, who has posted stellar AAA numbers, and only shot was a 9 start stretch when he was 23. He still looks like a guy that could benefit greatly from a move to the NL and turn into a legit starter.
    My only beef is giving up Schlereth. He’s under 6 years of control and is a potential closer, don’t see how he needed to go in this deal.

  4. Paul Steel - Dec 8, 2009 at 5:26 PM

    Edwin Jax and Kennedy..That doesnt seem as awful to me as people want to make it out to be…

  5. Mike O - Dec 8, 2009 at 5:26 PM

    Damon, Matsui and Nady are already off the books because of free agency and we didn’t offer them arbitration. Also, Granderson is younger than Bay and Holliday. Granderson is only 28. Granted we gave up too much to get him and those players would’ve probably landed us Halladay, getting Granderson to steal us 30 bags and hit 40 homers for less money than Bay and Holliday is okay by me. Plus, don’t be surprised if we land Washburn, Lackey or still make a play for Halladay.

  6. JMS - Dec 8, 2009 at 5:29 PM

    Gillberg, you don’t know what you’re talking about. Ian Kennedy came to the majors STRAIGHT into the rotation, not the bullpen. He was never considered to be a bullpen arm by the Yankees, I guarantee it. What, was Kennedy our only pitching prospect? No. Ever hear of McCallister, Sanchez, Melancon, Nova, DeLaRosa etc? Yankees have plenty of pitching depth in the minors. Austin Jackson can be a great player, maybe even a future all star. Who knows? Not all prospects pan out. Did you look at Austin Jackson’s power numbers this year? Or his K-Rate? He still has some work to do, especially getting back some of the power hitting he lost. Nothing is set in stone. Jackson’s ceiling is probably .280, 15-20 HR, 15-20 steals, above-average defense. Calm down. “Future All-Star is pushing it.”

  7. YANKEES1996 - Dec 8, 2009 at 5:35 PM

    Mike, I only see one problem in your line of thinking, we need our center fielder to get on to steal bases and as one of MLB’s strikeout leaders he is not going to do that! Now add in the fact that he hit .249 and he is not a homerun threat and we don’t need him to be a homerun threat and what exactly did we get for our prospects? Nothing, Granderson is younger than Holliday and Bay and he is not near the player that either one of them is. Washburn is washed up, don’t need him! Don’t have the young guys to package in a trade for Halladay, so it’s Lackey or nothing!

  8. Pimpin Pete - Dec 8, 2009 at 5:41 PM

    I don’t know why people are making such a big deal about Phil Coke. He’s a flyball pitcher at a park that gives up an absorbant amount of HR and he doesn’t K a lot of batters. The Yankees have plenty of young, talented arms that can slot into the bullpen. They already have a lefty – Marte.
    Ian Kennedy was never going to be the “bridge to Mo.” He was buried on the depth chart and maybe could have been a number 5 pitcher one day. Hughes, Joba and maybe even Aceves would start before he would now, and there’s a bunch of better pitching prospects in the Yankees system. Kennedy MAYBE will be a number three pitcher one day. He doesn’t throw hard but he has three pitches. He might just be another AAAA guy though.
    Austin Jackson is a loss but Curtis Granderson is essentially his ceiling and should play better with a change of scenery. Slot Cabrera in left and you have a much better defensive outfield, plus now you only have to sign one of Damon or Matsui. Matsui makes more sense as a full-time DH, plus you don’t have to sign him for 2 years. After that have Montero split time with Posada and let Posada DH.
    Detroit raped everyone by getting Max Scherzer here though. I have no idea what AZ was thinking.

  9. JMS - Dec 8, 2009 at 5:41 PM

    What does Marte being a Pirate have to do with anything?! Nonsense. Jason Bay was a Pirate too. And Dunn being a converted outfielder? So what? Rick Ankiel was a pitcher before being an outfielder. Swapping positions happens all the time. Some of these comments are so absurd.

  10. Joe - Dec 8, 2009 at 5:46 PM

    Since it was Detroit that got Austin Jackson, then it would be Detroit that’s the big winner of this trade, not Arizona (who got the pitcher, Edwin Jackson).

  11. Mike O - Dec 8, 2009 at 5:47 PM

    Yanks, I’d call 30 homers in a down year a power threat. There’s no reason to think with that short porch in right, he won’t get a few of the cheapies that Damon benefited from. The .249 is the lowest since his rookie and I think the protection of the Yanks’ lineup will give him protection. Bottomline is he’s a nice player. I agree that we got shafted for our prospects (we should’ve at least gotten a prospect), but Holliday was garbage with Oakland. I’d take Bay, but he’s coming at a high price tag. Boston will surely fuel the bidding war if we chase after him. With the savings by grabbing Granderson and the money coming off the books (I think in the range of $45 million), I think we got the cash for a serious push at Lackey.
    But you’re right, dropping those three guys for just a nice player hurts. Halladay woulda been a better option.

  12. Robin Rexford - Dec 8, 2009 at 5:51 PM

    What are you smoking? At best AJ is a 15 homer, 90 RBI guy! CG could have 30 homers @ the Stadium alone!

  13. Mike O - Dec 8, 2009 at 5:54 PM

    JHS, sorry didn’t make my point too clear. Marte isn’t a dominate lefty (save his WS stuff). His ERA was in the 5.02 in ’08 and 9.34 prior to his injury. I always thought we’d trade him once we got Nady. And Dunn being converted from an outfielder recently means that while he’s got a strong arm, I don’t see him being ready at this point to fill in as a dependable lefty in the AL East. Coke was solid for the most part and I’d rather still have him over Marte and Dunn.

  14. lee___d - Dec 8, 2009 at 5:55 PM

    um jesus montero is our best prospect, idiot

  15. YANKEES1996 - Dec 8, 2009 at 5:56 PM

    Marte and Aceves are the one we should have traded, I think Phil Coke was a keeper based on his post season performances. Kennedy was most certainly worth keeping or at least packaging in a deal for Halladay. I think we got used, abused and hung out to dry, but I will give Granderson a chance to prove me wrong!

  16. lee___D - Dec 8, 2009 at 5:56 PM

    grandy is 29 on opening day 2010

  17. Pimpin Pete - Dec 8, 2009 at 5:58 PM

    look at Granderson’s home vs away splits
    .230/.307/.388, with 10 HR and 34 RBI
    .267/.345/.516, with 20 HR and 37 RBI
    His OPS was 175 points higher on the road. Comerica killed him. Put him in at hitter friendly Yankee Stadium with that lineup and we’ll see what he does…

  18. Los - Dec 8, 2009 at 5:59 PM

    Granderson is 28 going onto 29… He is NOT turning 30 by opening day 2010

  19. Char-in-Miami - Dec 8, 2009 at 6:01 PM

    sorry the yankees had to get rid of coke – hope the granderson deal pays off. for example, is there any possibility they will include him (granderson) in another trade they might have in mind in their crystal ball before spring training???
    now to get rid of chamberlain and get halladay. and i’d sort of like to see the yankees go after schlereth. young with lots of potential.

  20. Matthew Pouliot - Dec 8, 2009 at 6:10 PM

    Whoops. That’s what happens when I make late changes to the blogs.

  21. XTrust_No1X - Dec 8, 2009 at 6:18 PM

    This is a good move by the Yankees, now, they can move Melky & Gardner, maybe packaging them with other prospects in the Yankees rich Farm System (The Best in MLB)in a trade to the Blue Jays for Halladay, and sign Johnny Damon. They have already started the resigning of Andy Pettite for around $11 Million, a doubling of his 2009 salary. Now, get the trade done for Doc Halladay, and sign John Lacky, thus making Joba & Hughes the official bridge to Mariano, and walla, the Yankees 28th World Series title will be ensured!

  22. Dirck - Dec 8, 2009 at 6:28 PM

    I have been reading some really stupid comments from Yankee fans that they ” gave up too much” to get Granderson . Granderson hit 30 homers in a tough home park last year in what was an off year for him . Playing in the launching pad at the new Yankee Stadium , he could very easily hit 40 . And he plays CF , where the Yankees have NOBODY .As for what they gave up , Coke is a marginal bullpen guy , Kennedy is a finesse starter who has already had serious arm problems , and Jackson is a no power guy who strikes out way too much for a powder puff hitter . Last year , in AAA he hit 300 with 4 , yes that is FOUR homers in 504 at bats while striking out 123 times . Potential superstar , he ain’t .If he can cut down on his strikeouts and improve his OBP , he might become an adequate CF and lead-off type guy .

  23. Rich - Dec 8, 2009 at 6:36 PM

    Granderson is the man. The NY media is going to enjoy this guy. Stop obsessing over his failure to hit lefties. The Yankees will work around his shortcoming. Curtis had a down year in 2009, but seemed to get HR happy hence a drop in his batting average overall. Phil Coke was helpful, but losing Kennedy and an unproven Austin Jackson isn’t that big of a deal. Granderson in center is better than a combination of Cabrera/Gardner and that’s all that matters right now. In three years if Jackson is a borderline all star then we can revisit if it was a bad trade. It’s about winning in 2010, not 2012.

  24. DetroitDale - Dec 8, 2009 at 6:36 PM

    So the Tigers give up two of their three all stars, and get four big fat maybes. Relievers are always a crapshoot, AJackson MIGHT be as good as Granderson in a few years IF everything goes right, Scherzer MIGHT be as good as EJackson IF his injury problems aren’t worse than we think AND everything goes right. Plus, the Tigers have a history of rushing players from the minors, aggravating injuries and gernally not maximizing players’ talents in coaching development. All so Ilitch can save a few bucks. These guys will be rushed to justify the trade which will make injury problems worse (see Bonderman and Zumaya) and other guys rushed before they’re talent is ready, and they’ll finish even worse than last year. AND on the odd chance I’m wrong and all of these players meet their potential, they’ll be traded to cut payroll just like Granderson and EJackson now. Ilitch and DD just showed a middle finger to all the fans who stuck with the team through the ’00 fire sale after the new park, the nearly record worse ’03 season and ponied up for tickets in the middle of a recession that hit them hardest. I don’t blanme a single fan who quits the team over this. They’re dead to me now.

  25. andrew - Dec 8, 2009 at 6:52 PM

    1. Coke was worth nothing. He is very old for a typical new guy and he gave up an outrageous number of homeruns to left handed batters which is what he’s in there to prevent from happening. He was almost completely phased out of the bullpens pecking order in the postseason showing just how unimportant he is.
    2. Ian Kennedy will never amount to anything significant. He has a subpar fastball and 3 other average offerings. Whoever previously said kennedy is afraid of nobody and nothing clearly didn’t watch him pitch, all he did was nibble 6 inches off the corner and walk the world around the bases. whoever mentioned that he was great in the bullpen 2 years ago should probably be shot that was a sample size of probably 10 innings great job.
    3. Austin Jackson is a legitimate prospect but his high BABIP, high K rate, and low HR rate all point towards a massive letdown at the major league level. There haven’t been many prospects the Yanks have regretted giving up recently I trust that cashman knows what he’s doing.
    4. As far as the return, granderson is a flawed player for sure, but he isn’t going to be the centerpiece of the Yankees, most teams would kill for a center fielder with decent range who has an OPS of around .900 against righties who can hit +20 hrs +35 doubles +10 triples and steal +20 bases batting in the bottom half of the lineup

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