Hello Mr. Granderson

Here is a brief recap before the analysis of the off-seasons first major move. The Tigers, Yankees and Diamondbacks swapped a total of 7 players with the most note worthy names involved being CF Curtis Granderson and SP Edwin Jackson. In the end the Yankees acquired Granderson, The Diamondbacks get Jackson and former 1st round pick by the Yankees Ian Kennedy and the Tigers bring in a haul of young controllable talent in OF Austin Jackson, SP Max Scherzer, RP Phil Coke, and RP Daniel Schlereth.


The least interesting but most talked about team in this trade is the defending World Champions. The Yankees have been without an elite centerfielder since the prime of Bernie Williams’s career. Granderson with his well publicized troubles against LHP (.183/.245/.239 against in ’09) may not be the best centerfielder the Bronx has ever seen, but an above average defender who has posted a 4.9 UZR in CF over his career, Granderson projects to fill the one void in the Yankee lineup with a 2010 Bill James line of .275/.353/.491/.366.


With salary obligations already putting the 2010 Tiger payroll north of $102 million, Detroit needed to find some salary relief with the prospect of Justin Verlander reaching free agency just two years away. The deal leaves the Tigers without a proven centerfielder and the prospect of starting a 23 year old in Austin Jackson who Bill James projects out at .294/.356/.411 in 2010. If the projections come anywhere close to holding the Tigers will have a serviceable if not above average every day CF for the future.

Edwin Jackson completes the parts moving out of Detroit. Coming off what looks like a superb season on the surface, Jackson has made his mark by outperforming his FIP the last 2 seasons by more than half a run(4.42-4.88 in ’08 and 3.62-4.28 in ’09). Jackson is simply not the type of reliable arm a team should be building around.

Along with Austin Jackson the Tigers got a trio of pitchers of whom they have contractual control over for a combined 16 years going forward. Max Scherzer is already better then Edwin Jackson, posting a 3.87 FIP, and 9.79 K/9 in 170 IP for the Diamondbacks in ’09. The only question about Scherzer is his mechanics and future health because of his delivery. However at pre-arbitration money Scherzer is a far better value than the inconsistent Edwin Jackson. Phil Coke is the least important piece of the deal, a LH reliever that fell out of favor with Yankee manager Joe Girardi by season’s end can be effective but gives up too many big innings to be a reliable late inning pitcher. The final piece the Tiger puzzle was LHP Daniel Schlereth former 1st round pick of the Diamondbacks. A hard throwing reliever who misses bats to a tune of 10.80 K/9 in his brief pro career Schlereth projects as a late game reliever who fits nicely into a bad Tiger bullpen.


The only question I have about the Diamondbacks concerning this trade is, why? They cannot be so concerned with Scherzer mechanics that they would give up him and Schlereth for the headache that can be Edwin Jackson’s pitching. Certainly Ian Kennedy who is coming off missing most of 2009 should not have persuaded them into this deal. Kennedy a 1st round pick of the Yankees has struggled in his very brief major league service time. Without a blazing fastball (average 89.1), Kennedy is not projected as a frontline starter because he simply cannot miss bats at the major league level.  Giving up 11 cost controlled years of Scherzer and Schlereth for 2 years of what could be expensive Edwin Jackson and 6 years of Kennedy who projects as a back end of the rotation starter, should raise many eyebrows in Arizona.

Winners: Tigers, saving what will come to be over $30 million over the duration of Granderson and Jackson’s remaining cost controlled years while getting a CF prospect in Jackson who could eventually replace the play of Granderson, along with a projectable front end starter in Scherzer and a power arm for the bullpen in Schlereth.

*Yawn*, Winners: Yankees, get the best player in the deal while not giving away any of their very best trade pieces.

Confused, Losers? Diamondbacks, I am not sure I will ever understand the rationale for this move from Arizona’s perspective.

Disco’s take:

Briefly, the Yankees made off with a good deal. In return for a specialist, questionable pitching prospect, and a solid OF prospect, they got a CF who at worst is a solid player and at best an All-Star. He also has a favorable contract for a team like the Yankees. Sure- he sucks, sucks, sucks against lefties, but overall he still posts solid lines. Factor in the switch from Comerica to NYS where HR were inflated to right field, and his right-handed stats could improve which will cancel off some of his suck against lefties. The Yankees got about a 4 WAR player in return for only one truly decent prospect at this point. From the Tigers side, they did well. They unloaded Jackson for an even better pitcher in Scherzer who is cost-controlled for awhile. They also unloaded payroll in the form of Granderson for another cost-controlled player in Austin Jackson, an OF who still has potential should his power develop soon. As for Arizona, no one knows

Twac’s Take:

I like this deal from the Yankees standpoint. They gave up a back end of the rotation starter in Ian Kennedy, a middle reliever in Phil Coke, and a CF prospect who has declined as a prospect a little over the past couple of years. In return they get Curtis Granderson. Granderson had a down year in 2009, but looking at his stats more in depth I’ve come to the conclusion that he’ll have a very good season in the new Yankee Stadium. His .276 BABIP was well below his career .323 BABIP despite the fact that his LD% went up. The drop could be somewhat explained by an 8.6% increase in his FB%, but given that he’s a lefty in Yankee Stadium we should see an increase in his SLG% and his ISO.

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