It’s been about eight months and 114 games now.
Raise your hand if you’re over Curtis Granderson.
To those with arms unraised: what on Earth are you waiting for?
Curtis Granderson, the smiling cherub now with the evil New York Yankees, isn’t coming back. So stop the pining.
But here’s the good news for Grandy’s jilted lovers: you wouldn’t want him back anyway—not the way he’s playing, and the Tigers have a better, more promising center fielder. So there.
Granderson is scuffling with the Yankees. Has been most of the season. His batting average struggles to reach the .240 level. His OBA is a paltry .312. He has but 28 extra base hits—for the season. He continues to strike out incessantly—about once every four at-bats. He still can’t hit lefties.
Thank goodness for Granderson’s replacement, the rookie Austin Jackson, because if it wasn’t for the pleasantly surprising year A-Jax was authoring, we’d still be hearing about the trade that sent Granderson to the Yankees.
As it is, Jackson’s .300 BA and stellar defense has been able to help erase memories around town.
Forget that the Tigers also netted Phil Coke from the Yanks in the trade—not to mention Max Scherzer and Daniel Schlereth in the three-team deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks that also shipped pitcher Edwin Jackson out of Detroit.
Don’t accuse me of being a 20/20 hindsighter, because I was on board with dealing Granderson before it was even on the Tigers’ radar.
The trade is already a great one for the Tigers.
Austin Jackson is six years younger than Granderson and is every bit as good defensively. He doesn’t have Grandy’s power—not yet—but is OBA is a robust .352. Jackson also fans a lot, so that’s a wash.
As I’ve written before, I have a sneaking suspicion that we’ve already seen the best of what Curtis Granderson can do. He’s topped out, in my mind, as a big league ballplayer. Doesn’t mean he’s not a good one—just that I don’t see him getting much better, if at all.
Austin Jackson, on the other hand, has a ceiling that far exceeds Granderson’s.
If Granderson wasn’t the nice, smiling guy that he is, this trade would already be lauded as being one of the best the Tigers have made in recent years. It’s as if there’s a grieving period that some people are still in—and that by praising the trade they’re somehow defiling Granderson’s legacy.
It’s not dancing on Granderson’s Tigers grave to acknowledge that GM Dave Dombrowski got one right in this instance.
DD turned Granderson and Edwin Jackson—who is no slouch, I will concede—into four big league players (Schlereth will be one permanently before long). Even the mathematically challenged can see that giving up two and getting back four is a good thing. Plus, the Tigers came out of things on the right side of the financial ledger—at least for now.
The time will come when the Tigers will have to pay A-Jax and Scherzer much more of Mike Ilitch’s pizza dough than they’re coughing up currently. But that’s down the line.
A baseball axiom says that you can’t really judge a trade until several years after it’s made.
But there are exceptions to every rule.
The Tigers made a good trade in swapping the lovable Curtis Granderson out of Detroit. I’ll never besmirch Granderson’s good guy status or the great things he does for the community at large. I’ve talked with him on several occasions; he’s impossible not to like personally.
But baseball is a business, and the goal is to put the best 25 men on your big league roster as you can muster.
Austin Jackson is better than Curtis Granderson—right now and probably forever. The former will only get better; the latter has plateaued.
It’s OK to be happy about the trade. You’ll always have your memories.