Sunday, November 15, 2009

Here's the Thing

Obviously, Curtis Granderson is a big name out there in imaginary trade land. Many Yankee fans feel that we need to seriously upgrade our outfield. I call this the 'Eli Manning Phenomenon.' This is where fans inexplicably decide their team can't possibly succeed with a player or group of players with which their team has not only succeeded but also won championships.

Damon and Swisher are, at best, average outfielders with below average arms. Melky Cabrera is a competent center fielder with an above average arm; while Gardner, though really fast, couldn't throw out a crippled dog (believe me, I've seen him try).

The truth is, however, it doesn't matter. All of them can read the path of the ball competently. With the exception of Melky on a few occasions, all of them are aware of their limitations and don't go diving for balls they have no chance of getting to, thereby turning singles into doubles or worse. They cut off balls, and hit the cut off guys, and play a smart, though not always an athletic outfield. That, truly, is all you need.

Swisher, the one with the below average arm, made two heads up plays to pick runners off during the play-offs because they strayed too far from the bag on pop-flys. He did not gun anyone down, he just threw to where he was supposed to and it was enough.

Last year, we lost exactly zero games because of our "subpar" outfield. We won quite a few games because our outfielders, particularly Cabrera, came up with timely hits.

The Yankees don't need an upgrade in their outfield, at least not any upgrade not named Austin Jackson. Granderson is a good player and a good ESPN guest analyst, but he does not make the Yankees exceptionally better. More athletic? Yes. More likely to repeat? No. Less likely to repeat? Probably not, though his strike outs are cause for concern, especially if he's replacing someone like Damon, who won game four of the World Series by having a patient at-bat and then stealing two bases (again, though Damon is not as fast as he once was, as long as he plays smart baseball, which he generally does, he's fast enough).

Is Granderson worth trading away Austin Jackson? Maybe if Damon won't accept a reasonable contract (and we know Bay and Holliday won't be accepting reasonable contracts, nor will they be worth their contracts, especially considering Carl Crawford will be available next year). But even then, it's a high cost.

Mark Feinsand thinks the Yankees should skip Granderson and focus on trying to trade for Roy Halladay (hey, even without an extension, is there any concern we wouldn't be able to keep him after 2010?). What do you guys think?


Fernando Alejandro said...

If there is any chance that we can get Roy Halladay, I think we have to look into it. I agree that we really don't need Granderson, but if he came cheap, it would be a decent upgrade (We may not need to give up much for him if we eat Dontrelle Willis' contract, maybe him and Kei Igawa can become best of friends).

But here's the thing, if we're talking Roy Halladay, we'll likely be starting with Joba, Hughes, and Jackson and going from there. You may see them ask for Montero on top of that, and I think that's too high a cost. I would be willing to give up almost anyone else but Montero though.

It should be noted that Halladay will be 33 at the beginning of next season, and if signed long term, say 5 years, he'll be 38 the last year he's pitching. Will he be worth it then?

Roberto E. Alejandro said...

What if we trade for Halladay for an incentive laden trade? We'll say to Toronto, you can have Joba, Hughes, Jackson, Montero, one of the Swindall kids, and free nachos at Yankee Stadium for life in exchange for Halladay, BUT if we don't win the World Series by the time he's 38 (whether or not he's still a Yankee) we get our players back. I think they'll bite.

Greg F. said...

I'd give up Austin Jackson in a heartbeat for Granderson if that's all it would take.

The problem is, it would take much more. The Tigers don't have to deal him now, as he's only going to make $5.5 mil in 2010.

I don't know how you could say that Granderson wouldn't increase the Yankees' odds, he's easily a better option than Damon.

SA Yankee fan said...

Granderson was great on my fantasy team this year but is he worth the package that the yanks would have to shell out? Probably not.

I know it seems as if the Yanks ahve an unlimited payroll but I don't think they do and if you want to be in a position to shell out money to the Arods of the world, you have bring cheap, young players through your system.

Using a player like AJax to net granderson could make you better in 2010 but the yankees would probably be a better team over the next 5 years by bringing Ajax through the system and using the financial resources they have to snap up players like Halliday, Lee or Mauer.

Looking ahead, there are a ton of young superstars hitting free agency in the next 3-4 years that would be a better investment that you would not be in a position to capitalise on if you spend massive amounts of money on players like Lackey and granderson (he aint going to be cheap in 2 years time). You alos lose out on the financial flexability to take on players through salary dumps, look at Abreau and how well that worked out, only because the Yanks were in a position to be able to take on a 16mil a year contract.

That said, I do expect a trade in the near future. There are a ton of semi-decent players that will be exposed to the rule 5 draft and I expect cashmen to try and bundle a few of them and get a return before losing them anyway. Last year he did that and got back Swisher.

Roberto E. Alejandro said...

I stand by my assertion that Granderson wouldn't increase our odds to repeat over Damon (assuming Damon is healthy).

Granderson is a less disciplined hitter, and Damon doesn't hurt us in left (name one way in which his defense cost us any games). I just don't see how he makes us so much better. Outfield defense, at the end of the day, just has to be competent, not great, not young, not super athletic, just competent.

cheshirecat9 said...

I agree with Roberto. I think Granderson will cost too much in terms of players and prospects. We won the World Series with Melky in center. We shouldn't be trading away the future of the organization for someething that is not an absolute necessity.

Fernando Alejandro said...

Yeah, it kind of reminds me of the Mike Cameron trade talks last year. Mike Cameron was a definite upgrade over Melky, but somehow, someway, we won a championship without him. I like Grandersen, but I wouldn't be willing to give up much for him.

Jon Roberts said...

I like Granderson, but as I said before, I think adding depth to the rotation is more important. I seriously doubt the that Toronto would trade Halladay to the Yankees, at not without asking for an extra arm or leg. There seem to be some decent lesser talents available via free agency or trade. Lackey is the obvious one, though I think the rest of baseball would have a temper tantrum if the Yankees sign the best pitcher again. It might be worth it just to see John Kruk scream about it and John Henry's tweets.

Anonymous said...

Adding Lackey to Tex, Swish and Damon would give us a lock on the "most goofy looking guys on the field" pennant.

But I'd love to see Lackey on the mound every five days, too.