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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. ipk - Dec 8, 2009 at 7:11 PM

    Don’t know where you are getting your stats from. What has not developed for austin is his power. He hit 4 homeruns last year in triple A. His strikeouts have gone up while his walks have gone down. Does he have potential to be a good cf, maybe an allstar? sure. But he is more than a couple year away. Granderson has proven to be an all star player. He is coming off a bad year, but all of his numbers should revert back to their norms. Granderson is an above average out fielder who has a very reasonable contract for his prime years. Yankees still have all the tools to get Halladay if they want (which for joba and montero plus 20 million dollars not sure they want to do that. If Blue Jays want another pitching prospect in the mix we have Mcalister, Betances, Brackman, Nova, Dunn, Vasquez. I love kennedy, but he is nothing more than a number 4-5 starter in the al east and really has no position in yankees rotation. Coke is flat out bad anyway you look at it.

  2. Bill - Dec 8, 2009 at 7:27 PM

    The Yankees gave up an unproven and overrated Austin Jackson (his reputation comes from one outlier lower minor league season), a LH bullpen guy (who cares), and Ian Kennedy (not an AL pitcher). Basically, the Yankees gave up parts that they were never going to use for a cost effective option in CF that absolutely destroys RHP and maybe he can make some productive outs against the lefties. I am not one to often compliment the Yankees or Brian Cashman but this deal was a steal (he still has yet to make a good trade that was not a salary dump by another team though).

  3. BNov - Dec 8, 2009 at 7:45 PM

    A pitcher is going to hit 40 homers and get 130 RBIs? Better be sarcasm.
    This deal is horrible. Looks like the Snakes will have lousy pitching and relief for yet another year.

  4. Mike - Dec 8, 2009 at 7:46 PM

    What a move by GM Brian Cashman!… Coke,Kennedy and Jackson for Granderson are u kidding me? Coke and Kennedy are nothing special and Austin Jackson is a good prospect but not the Yankees best and doesnt project as a superstar. Granderson is a proven commodity and an offensive beast and will only thrive in Yankee Stadium in that lineup. This is a scary good move for the Yanks. Look at that lineup now. Now theyll add a pitcher or 2 and REPEAT!!!!

  5. Johnny Small Ball - Dec 8, 2009 at 7:47 PM

    Austin Jackson struck out nearly as much in AAA as Granderson did in the Bigs. Also he showed very little power and didn’t even double all that often so what is to suggest is power is coming. Granderson will hit 30 hrs in the Yankee lineup in that ballpark.
    Phil Coke is a strong lefty specialist, but so is Damaso Marte. And they are paying Marte to do the juob, he did it in the playoffs…let him earn the money.
    Ian Kennedy was out of favor and would never be given a fair shot to make the rotation.
    Yankees filled a need in getting a quality young center fielder. And as a Yankee fan Melky and Gardner are likable but are not the answer. They are role players. Granderson is a potential all-star and at 28 is the perfect age.
    Not to mention, he is a clubhouse superstar. With the crew they have there now, just add another best friend to the mix.

  6. jordan - Dec 8, 2009 at 8:11 PM

    Sorry dude, but you’re wrong. I am a Yankee fan and I know my “prospects.” Ian Kennedy projects as a #4 starter AT BEST. Yea, great player. Did you watch any games? Coke is not good dude. Not good at all. Gives up a lot of homeruns, can’t pitch to righties, and towards the end of the season, even lefties were crushing him.
    The only blip is Jackson. I was curious to see how he faired, but he’s been in Triple A for a while now. 4 hrs?!?!? Let’s see. He has no power, below average defender in center field, etc. You called him a future all star? It’s obvious you don’t know as much as you think you do.

  7. sagarian - Dec 8, 2009 at 8:55 PM

    Listen I’m not too sure where you get your baseball credits (?) from but I’ve been a Little League coach, college baseball coach, and professional baseball scout for three teams, the San Francisco Giants,Florida Marlins, and the Minnesota Twins. Normally, I don’t respond to these kinds of things but my grandson was adamant that I make some type of comment. So here’s my two cents. First off, the deal that makes the most overall baseball “sense” to me, anyway, is that Granderson brings superb dimension to the NY Yankees. He has speed and powerer, always a proven commodity for a team with the kind of depth offensively the Yankees have. As far as his strikeouts go, on a team with the kind of hitters the Yankees possess there’s just no way for Granderson not to become a “more focused” batter. On good hitting teams hitting becomes contagious. True professionals, like Granderson, know what it takes to adapt and conform to the task at hand. I don’t know Mr. Granderson but from what friends in baseball have told me he fits a certain personality profile that the Yankees organization likes. Last thing is this, the Yankees are what [we] call “baseball smart” when it comes to negotiating for fresh players to take over a position. To my way of thinking, the Yankees got a serious and professional player who is going to give them more speed overall, offensively and defensively, and he’ll find a way to adjust to left-handed pitching. I would have made that deal in a heartbeat. By the way, Granderson does possess a better than average throwing arm too. Something Damon lacks quite noticeably.

  8. MLB Rainmaker - Dec 8, 2009 at 9:26 PM

    Yankees farm system is the best in the MLB? Really?
    ESPN ranks them 15th, HardballTimes ranks them 20th, the best ranking they got was 10th by the Bleacher Report, and guess what…everyone of those rankings had Austin Jackson as their top prospect and Ian Kennedy as their #3 prospect. The only guy left in their system in the top 100 prospects from ’09 is Jesus Montero, an 18-yr old catcher. Hardly seems “rich with talent”.
    Yankees don’t have a farm system, they buy championship in a league that lets it happen. Maybe when Selig leaves the sport will gain some measure of competitive legitimacy.

  9. ckirish - Dec 8, 2009 at 9:58 PM

    To all you Yankee fans……… Just watch Granderson for a year and let me know what you think.

  10. Dabrnkz2 - Dec 8, 2009 at 10:45 PM

    You my friend are ABSOLUTLY correct.

  11. yankee$$$$$ - Dec 8, 2009 at 10:50 PM


  12. Tony - Dec 8, 2009 at 11:27 PM

    Austin Jackson is not as good as everybody might think. The future is Jesus Montero taking over as catcher and hitting with power. All the scouts are raving about Montero. But Kennedy stock went down a long time ago, he wasn’t the pitcher we all thought he would be, Kennedy is coming back from surgery. There are many pitcher in the minor ahead of Kennedy.

  13. Tony - Dec 8, 2009 at 11:30 PM

    Granderson hit 25 HR in Tiger Stadium, I think he can hit 35-40 HR in Yankees stadium.

  14. DRob - Dec 9, 2009 at 12:03 AM

    Hey Dan – I think you need to look up what mortified means. I’ll save you time. It means terribly embarrassed, which you should be. The other people that should be mortified are those in the D’backs org that gave this deal a green light. Ugh – looks like another long summer in the desert.

  15. medium_robin - Dec 9, 2009 at 1:19 AM

    I think Yankee fans will be surprised by Granderson. I don’t care what the media says, his defense is not slipping. He has great range in the OF and was surrounded by really really poor corner OF in a HUGE park. The Yanks now have great coverage of the OF, which should help Granderson look even better.
    Also, Grandy is not a leadoff hitter but was basically doing what the team asked by filling in at the top of the order. On a normal club he’d be better batting 5th. On the Yanks he’ll probably bat 7th. Another think I loved about Granderson is that he’s clutch…when the game gets tight he always came up with big plays…game tying or wining HR’s, a big catch, triple or SB.
    At worst, Granderson is now what AJax will be in 3-5 years. At best, the Yanks got a very versitile player and a great community guy.

  16. YANKEES FTW - Dec 9, 2009 at 2:20 AM

    Great move for the Yankees.
    About the lefty thing – 30% of Yankee plate appearances last year were against lefties. Not really a big deal, and we have Kevin Long to hopefully straighten out his numbers against lefties. He also pulled the ball roughly 50% of the time last season which is VERY GOOD for a left-handed hitter in Yankee Stadium for obvious reasons.
    The Yankees also did not give up their top three guys (Joba, Hughes, Montero) and can now shift Melky to left outfield and concentrate on getting Damon or Matsui. The price WAS RIGHT for the Yankees to do this and they got a good deal along with Detroit. Arizona got fleeced.

  17. Chris - Dec 9, 2009 at 7:00 AM

    I originally looked at this trade and didn’t like it for the yankees. I thought, “Why would we give up Austin for a non all star player 6 years older, who has a poor obp and can’t hit lefties.”
    Then I rethought how he could be used. He could hit second for the yankees. With Jeter leading off and getting on base at a 380-400 clip and Tex hitting behind him, this kid is going to see a whole lot of fastballs in the strikezone. At Yeankee stadium, he may hit 34-36 homers sandwiched between those two. When he gets on base, he can steal while Tex and Arod take some pitches. He plays great defense and has a good make up.
    Whether Jackson is going to be good or not is still a mystery. Do you guys remember the kid we traded to the pirates. 20 year old outfielder (can’t remember his name). Without Marte coming up big in the series, we may not have beat Philly this year. When that kid hits free agency, the pirates will let him go and we will sign him if he is that good. Jackson is no guarantee but we know what Granderson is. He is a 30-20 guy with defense. Now we can move Melky to left and use Gardner as a d-replacement and pinch runner.
    I actually like this move more as I think about what it does for the rest of the team. Holliday and Bay are hitters and that is it. They also will want 15 mil per. We are not getting Halladay and that is the right move. He has a lot of innings on his arm and his extension will be an albatross in less than 3 years. Next year is when the yankees will revamp through free agency. Many bigtime players will be hitting free agency in 2011.
    Matt Holliday is at the head of a weak free agent class. Can you say Gianbi/Damon instead of Beltran/Vlad? We can always sign Mike Gonzalez as a lefty for the bullpen.
    The ideal guy would have been Figgins because of his patience and multipositional eligibility, but he is 30 now and 12 mill is a lot for a guy who would have to play out of position. I love this move and think that it makes Damon and Matsui expendable. I would like to resign Damon to dh and play a little outfield, but for no more than a 1 year 8 mill deal. He is not worth 10 mil nor two years.

  18. FrankM - Dec 9, 2009 at 9:12 AM

    Haven’t heard it but here’s hoping it’s true!

  19. Bricks - Dec 9, 2009 at 10:09 AM

    The reaction from the Yankee fans is why this trade hurts so much. Granderson may be the classiest guy in MLB, and now he is headed to the least classy place in the world – the Bronx.
    I feel your pain already Curtis. Make sure you don’t sign an extension with those ingrates.

  20. Ron - Dec 9, 2009 at 11:10 AM

    Gilberg you fool………..don’t watch jackass………Yankees
    sure as hell dont’t need bandwagon fans like you….shut your face
    Granderson has 35-40 homer potential and 30 sb potential in New York’s Lineup and Yankee Stadium. The Yankees coaches and players will also teach him patience and pitch selection and he will be protected in the lineup and see better pitches. In New York Curtis will blossom in to another Bernie Williams you fool.
    Jackson will be a decent player but never an all star but all reasonable projections. .300 hitter not much power defensively not a cf but more lf or rf. He will become at best what Granderson is now.
    Also Curtis is only 29 has much more power and a better defender a true cf. If he hit 30 homers in Comerica he will hit near 40 in Yankee Stadium. 40 hr stolen base speed and good defense he will coem close to putting up Bernie Williams numbers less average and obp but more homers and stolen bases.
    And you obviously know nothing of the Yankee farm system Jackson is not their best prospect and the one all the other teams want. The true number one in Jesus Montero.
    As for Coke 4-4 4.50 era is average at best showed flashes but bottom line is his stats. Damaso Marte now healthy dominates much more and that is why Girardi used him in the playoffs. And they have power left arms in the system.
    This is a very good trade for New York. Maybe I change my mind if Granderson is 33 but he is not he is 29 and entering his prime years
    I predict if healthy Curtis will track down many a long fly ball in
    Yankee Stadium and for next 4 years will hit 130 + Homers and steal
    100 + bases. That is a big upgrade over Melky and Gardner.
    Those numbers we have not had in cf since Bernie.

  21. starz34 - Dec 9, 2009 at 11:28 AM

    Just because Jackson isn’t a power hitter doesn’t mean he’s not a great player. People keep mentioning his AAA season but forget he’s only 22. Jeter’s the best Yankee and he doesn’t hit many homers. The reason the Yankees were terrible under Torre’s last few years when they got Giambi and ARod was because everyone kept swingning for the fences instead of a base hit.
    The Yankee fans I hate are the one’s who still complain about Girardi, one title later.

  22. Patrick - Dec 9, 2009 at 11:28 AM

    MLB Rainmaker has the best defense of the trade from the Dbacks’ perspective.
    Still, if you’re ranking who got the best deal here, it has to be Tigers-Yankees-Dbacks.
    But I think ALL the teams might be winners in this deal, especially if the Dbacks are planning to try to win the NL West in 2010. And why shouldn’t they?
    So I think Pouliot overstates it. It’s very possible EJax and Kennedy will both pitch great in 2010, while Scherzer will combust against the AL lineups and DHs. In that case, Josh Byrnes will look good.
    The big losers are OF free agents. With the Yankees out of the OF market, who’s going to create leverage for the Hollidays, Bays, etc?

  23. roidsmen777 - Dec 9, 2009 at 11:40 AM

    I think I may see where the one person is coming from who mentioned Kennedy could have been Mo’s bridge. He’s as much as a starter as Phil Hughes and Joba were last season…
    Then again, idk how the surgery affects performance but I think he’s better than Wang will ever be now. just my 2 cents

  24. Brian - Dec 9, 2009 at 2:10 PM

    Granderson is not a below average defender. Defensively he maybe one of the best CF in the game. Sure his arm strength is not the greatest. But he gets a great jump on the ball and positions himself excellently. Plus he has to cover a ton of ground in Comerica. Since Magglio and Guillen or Rayburn cover a very limited area in right and left.

  25. Ron - Dec 9, 2009 at 3:21 PM

    For you idiots who don’t think the Yankee farm system is good
    where the hell do you think Hughes Chamberlain Coke Robertson Cano Cabrera Gardner Bruney Cervielli Pena etc came from you loud mouth
    jackasses………they all played an important part in a WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP….. they have more homegrown players on their roster
    than Red Sox or Phillies….
    And let us not forget that the last Dynasty baseball has known with championships 1996 1998 1999 2000 was built on a foundation of homegrown players Jeter Rivera Pettite Posada Williams Mendoza etc
    Most of you fools get your panties all in a bunch criticizing the Yankees with hate filled jealous rantings that have no basis in fact.
    The Current Yankees Championship team homegrown players: Jeter Rivera Posada Pettitte Cano Hughes Chamberlain Cabrera Garner Coke Robertson Bruney Cervielli Aceves Miranda Guzman
    That’s 16 players that contributed at some point in 2009 to a championship and 12 players that were vital to the championship.
    A-Rod Swisher Marte were traded for 3
    Texiera Damon Sabathia Burnett were high priced free agents.
    So 12-16 players homegrown 3 traded for and only 4 free agents.
    So all you ignorant fools envious of Yankee Glory who use the cop out the Yankees buy championships why don’t you do the research so you actually know what you are talking about when you open your lame brain mouths.
    Yes the Yankees have the highest payroll but the biggest factor is they reward homegrown players with rich contracts in appreciation of their skills loyalty and team oriented play. Or players they traded for and want to keep as Yankees. The Financial numbers also show the Yankees put back the greatest percentage of revenues back into their teams and they receive no luxury tax or shared revenue either.
    The bottom line is the Yankees put a winning team on the field the fans donate dollars to ticket sales and tv revenue by watching the Yankees with great fan support and the owners take the largest percentage of revenue and put it back into the team more than any other owners and if players like Jeter for example come through the system and perform well the Yankees reward them with the best contracts to keep them Yankees.
    contrast that with cheap owners in small markets that pocket even free money they get by baseballs welfare system of shared revenue and luxury taxes and then pocket the money and field a AAA team or richer teams like Boston who run their stars out of town Boggs Clemens Nomar Manny and soon Papi instead of giving them rewards for their play.
    Tell me who is running the best baseball team now ……
    Do the research instead of listening to false hype…..
    The Yankees are world champions and only 4 players on the roster were free agents…………..
    Why don’t you all check the other 7 playoff teams and analyze number of homegrown players on the roster number of free agents and number of trades…..then compare to the above analysis.
    I know one thing for sure the Red Sox have stolen many more players from other teams than the Yankees. There whole roster comes from somewhere other than their minor league system
    lets see now Martinez Ortiz Gonzalez Lowell Bay Drew Beckett Penny Smoltz Matsusaka Ramirez Wagner Wakefield Varitek Kotchman Baldelli
    Byrd Saito
    Seems like the whole team was stolen from other teams systems
    Only Papelbon Lester Okijima Delcarmen Bard Bucholz and Ellsbury
    came form their system that’s only 7
    The fact is the Yankees develop many great players as seen in the hall of fame and their 1996-2000 dynasty and the new champions of 2009 and they run a successful business and reinvest in their team instead of pocketing profits and putting a lousy team on the field.
    And occasionally as all teams do if you analyze their rosters they buy free agents. Not their fault if they want to buy the best.
    Remember only 4 players on the team are free agents Texiera Sabathia Burnett and Damon. All the rest were homegrown and trades made by sacrificing some of their homegrown talent in trading chips.
    Granderson is an upgrade in cf made possible because they developed Austin Jackson Phil Coke and Ian Kennedy.
    Face it the Yankees are just a well run oiled machine capable of operating in all 3 phases of the game Homegrown Players Trades and Free Agents.
    So all you whiners and Yankee haters look at the facts and then look at your own teams rosters and moves.
    Also look at the history as the Yankees have been dominant before and after free agency and have developed some of the greatest hall of famers in the history of baseball. Under every economic system baseball has had the Yankees have had a least one dynasty.
    Before free agency 20 championships after free agency 7 championships. Do the math fools.
    Yankee Glory is Deserved and is Product of a great Franchise the best the sports world has ever known.

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