Curtis Granderson's Stock Might Be Slipping
If you guessed Lynn Henning, you would be correct. Now, for the non-Tigers fans among us, Lynn Henning has spent the season with a baffling fascination for the relative failure of Curtis Granderson and has pitched the possibility that Granderson will be traded this offseason time and time again.
Shut up. Lynn Henning is fast becoming to the Detroit Tigers what Michael Rosenberg has become to the University of Michigan and Rich Rodriguez.
Since it is early in the morning and I am eating breakfast, I'm not going to go into a rant and use tons of supporting evidence etc. and instead just pose this question:
Why would the Tigers trade Curtis Granderson?
Let me elaborate. He is 28 years old, known in baseball terms as "entering his prime." He has had a weird, and kind of rough season with his batting average taking the biggest hit. Well, he's also about the set career highs in walks. He has struggled against lefties, no doubt, but in that 2007 season when everybody in the world was on the Granderson bandwagon, he only hit .160 against lefties. As the Ink Stained blog pointed out last week, Ryan Howard hits just .199 against lefties. Grady Sizemore goes .216, and Carlos Pena hits .211. I'm not saying that as a point of defense, but rather that it is hard to write off a player entirely because he can't hit left-handed pitching, especially when he showed signs of improvement one year ago (.259 against LH pitching), and especially when he was anointed as the next great thing two years ago. Regression is ok, if there is improvement in the future--and there is no reason to think that Granderson can't improve.
So, apart from those factors--you know, the ones that indicate that Granderson is still a very good player with a rather lofty ceiling, we can also look at the reason players get traded in the first place. Money.
Tell me, what would you gain by trading Curtis Granderson?
I'm seeing a best case scenario in which you get some prospects, one of which hopefully ends up being Curtis Granderson. Are you with me? Curtis is making $3.5 Million this year. FanGraphs tells us that even in this odd season, with a lower than normal batting average, poor splits and elevated strikeouts, he has been worth $14.4 Million to the team. With salaries that elevate to $5.5 Million in 2010, $8.25 Million in 2011, $10 Million in 2012 and a $13 Million option in 2013, Granderson--if he continues to play as he had this year, which most can agree is below his capabilities in many respects (and Granderson's own self-admission), he will outplay the value of his contract for its duration.
Now, I can see a salary dump scenario in a few years, but the idea of trading Granderson this offseason is patently absurd. It would fit somewhere on the spectrum between malicious malpractice and franchise-destroying. It is not easy to find a good center fielder. Just ask Chad Curtis or Brian Hunter. Or Roger Cedeno, or Alex Sanchez. Or Nook Logan.
Thinking about trading Granderson at this point in his career is a fool's errand. It's akin to taking on all the risk and little of the reward from signing a long-term contract. For Henning to repeatedly bring up this idea suggests that he is either sick and tired of everyone fawning over Grandrson, or that he, like many of us, is frustrated by this year's inconsistency from a player that we all expected to get better every year. Welcome to the club, Lynn. Yes, Granderson needs to be a rock in the lineup and on more than one occasion has failed to come through. But this is baseball. It happens. Sometimes people have down years.
Just for a bit of fun.
1959 .327 BA .410 OBP .940 OPS 27 HR 94 RBI
1960 .278 BA .354 OBP .781 OPS 15 HR 68 RBI
1961 .324 BA .393 OBP .909 OPS 19 HR 82 RBI
Kaline Over The Hill, Trade for Orioles' ROY Hanson Makes Sense
28 September 1960
It has been a strange year for Tigers Right Fielder Al Kaline. After storming onto the scene in '53 and winning a batting title at the tender age of 20, it is starting to look like the 6-time All Star may be starting to see the effects of being rushed to the major leagues. With career lows in every major offensive category, you have to wonder if Kaline's potential trade value has taken a hit as the Tigers decide to cash in their chips for some highly touted prospects. Kaline has struggled all year, not hitting higher than .235 in any month until now, not counting the 9 games he played in April. While a hot August and September has boosted the once-fearsome Tiger's batting average, you can't help but wonder if the Tigers would be wise to send Kaline back to his hometown in exchange for one or more of Baltimore's prized rookie pitchers.
Simply said, this hasn't been the season that the Tigers needed out of their veteran star. At age 25, the organization needs to ask itself if they were lucky enough to catch lightning in a bottle, or if Kaline's career peaked early and it is time for the team to sell high while they still can. With the opportunities on the trade market, it would be silly for the team not to take a look.
Geez, no wonder "in the mid-1960s Kaline grew bitter about some of the negative press he was receiving in Detroit, where they felt he should be doing more to bring a title to the town. He even talked openly of being traded." Good to see that Henning lives up to the proud tradition of the Detroit media criticizing its local stars (don't get me started on their poor treatment and later, silence, on how unbelievable Miguel Cabrera has been in Detroit so far. This guy is a STAR and he's gets less press than Tony Clark.)
Granderson is no Al Kaline (Kaline was only 25 in 1960 and a 7 year MLB Veteran!), but sometimes people have down years. It doesn't make any sense to make silly moves because of one year, and there is no doubt in my mind that everyone in the Tigers organization is aware of that. Time to get up to speed, Mr. Henning.
With all of the bitching that teams and fans do about the World Baseball Classic, is it possible that Granderson's inclusion in that tournament stunted his preparation for the year and has kept him from improving? He has stated that he has felt uncomfortable all year, and (HR not withstanding) has shown it in his at-bats. Is it unreasonable to claim that by going into competitive game mode so early in the season and missing out on spring training at-bats and instruction, that his ability to get into a groove was hampered? I'm not sure, and it is hard to say that given that he has had a full season to improve, but I'm guessing that it is hard to make adjustments on the fly (aka during the season) when you're still a young player and facing new pitching every night and focusing so much on winning games. Just a thought.
The cutoff man blog on milve.com is on the case as well. Granderson trade talk is way premature at best, foolish nonsense at worst. Nice to see that I'm not alone in this.