Curtis Granderson Awaits Big Payday After Adam Jones Inks Deal With Baltimore Orioles

There is little doubt now that Curtis Granderson is one of the best centerfielders in all of baseball.  Prior to the 2008 season, Granderson signed a five-year deal with the Detroit Tigers worth $30.25 million with a club option for 2013.  The New York Yankees are likely to exercise that option on Granderson but would like to work out a long-term deal with the 31 year-old centerfielder.  However, any hope of getting Granderson for anything less than $18 million per year went out the window with the announcement of Adam Jones getting $85 million over six years from the Baltimore Orioles.

Granderson has emerged as the Yankees most prolific power threat over the past season and a half.  His left-handed swing is tailor-made for Yankee Stadium.  His power surge has compensated for the power decline from Alex Rodriguez and, to some extent, Mark Teixeira.  The Yankees probably won’t let Granderson walk, especially since Ian Kennedy and Austin Jackson were the main pieces the Yankees parted with to land Granderson and are both showing signs of being very good Major League ballplayers.

Adam Jones is five-years younger than Granderson and has a higher ceiling than Granderson does.  However, Jones hasn’t lived up to the huge expectations that came with him when he was traded from the Seattle Mariners for pitcher Erik Bedard.  This year, Jones has looked explosive at the plate, looking like he will finally emerge as the hitter the Orioles hoped they were getting when they traded a still promising Bedard for Jones.  This year, Jones has 14 home runs, the exact same number as Granderson.  Jones has more RBI and is hitting fifty-two points higher than Granderson this season but has a lower on-base percentage.  Jones and Granderson actually have very similar numbers through their first seven years of their careers.

The one difference is Jones is still slated to become a free agent in six years, when he will be 32 years-old.  Granderson is slated to be a free agent after the 2013 season when he will be 33.  The Yankees don’t exactly have a track record of letting free agents walk, especially if they have proven they can play in New York.  I wouldn’t be shocked if the Yankees offered Granderson a five-year deal worth well above what Jones is slated to make over six years.  By the time Granderson is ready to retire both Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez will be retired.  Mariano Rivera will be gone, the Yankees will actually have money to spare, especially if the Yankees prospects develop, allowing the Yankees to keep costs down.  Granderson could be looking at perhaps $20 million per year.

Jones is a great player but he is on his way to the finest year of his career.  If he continues to hit like this the Orioles would have made a great deal.  If he doesn’t, or pulls a Vernon Wells, the Orioles will be left holding an untradeable contract.  Either way, Curtis Granderson will walk away with lots of change in his pockets thanks to Adam Jones.

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  • Steve Skinner

    I disagree with you. In spite of how well Granderson has played, and the contract that Jones just signed, the Yankee ownership has imposed a $189 million dollar cap for next season. Given that Robinson Cano will need to be addressed – along with Nick Swisher – I doubt that Grandy will be offered a huge contract. I’d love for him to stay, but given the current atmosphere it would not surprise me if you see Chris Dickerson playing in the outfield next year.
    I have to believe that Cano will be the top priority for the off-season,then Granderson.

    • Chris Gamble

      Granderson has a team option for the 2013 season so he won’t need to be addressed until before the 2014 season which is the year the Yankees want to get under the $189 luxury tax threshold. By that time Mariano Rivera’s contract will be off the books as he will most likely make 2013 his last season. Rafael Soriano’s contract will also be off the books. The Yankees will be in position to give Granderson his money and will also have some young prospects getting ready to enter the big leagues at that time as well in Mason Williams and Tyler Austin.
      The Yankees could offer Granderson a backloaded deal, allowing them to stay below the luxury tax threshold in 2014. Either way, Granderson is due a large pay increase when his contract runs out after the 2013 season.

  • CG

    Also disagree with your very first line. Just because he is hitting homers does not mean he is one of the best CFs in baseball… He is basically turning into Rob Deer – homer or nothing (look at his batting average last year and this year). Outside of the last two, he is only hitting solo homers and strikes out a ton. While his hitting against lefties has improved the last two years, he has taken drastic steps backward against righties.

    Defensively, he’s suspect (he had 2-3 good years in the field), and he’s clearly lost a step which also can be evidenced by his 25% stolen base success rate.

    I guess I would say he isn’t even on the same level now as Jones, McCutchen, Hamilton, Ellsbury, etc… I even believe Austin Jackson to be better. There is nothing consistent about Granderson.

    I believe of his 17 homers, 13-14 are at Yankees Stadium as well, which means he isn’t doing it on the road. If other GM’s are smart, they won’t even jump into the bidding game for him, as he’ll be 33 by the time he starts that new contract.