Top 5 Landing Spots for Curtis Granderson During 2014 MLB Offseason
Gauging the Value of Curtis Granderson
When all 13 free agents who received one-year, $14.1 million qualifying offers rejected them on Monday afternoon the market for the 2014 MLB Offseason was officially set. Teams looking to the free agent market to make improvements now know who exactly will be available and what it will take in terms of compensation in the draft to get their targets.
One of those to receive a qualifying offer and decline it was Curtis Granderson, although this decision was not universally expected. In fact after a 2013 season in which he only played in 60 games and put up a dreadful line of .229/.317/.407 with seven home runs, 15 RBI and a 1.1 WAR there were few who believed that he wouldn't return to the New York Yankees in 2014 and make another crack at free agency after a season of health.
Instead Granderson has decided to rely on past success to try and get a deal worth $15 million annually for a term of four to five seasons. Getting teams to spend this hefty sum will require them to believe that the outfielder's 84 home runs, 225 RBI, eight WAR, and two All-Star appearances compiled in 2011 and 2012 is not a thing of the past. Furthermore, Granderson will surely try and promote the fact that he can play all three positions in the outfield at an above average level, making him one of the only complete packages available via free agency.
The final calling card that Granderson will use to gain a big payday is the fact that he is a great influence on any clubhouse. One must only look to him winning the 2009 Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award and being voted the fourth friendliest player in MLB in 2009 to identify that he would easily assimilate into any clubhouse. This factor can not be underrated as a turbulent clubhouse can derail even the most talented roster.
Getting teams to believe that this integrity and past success is more valuable than a bad 2013 season will ultimately determine how much Granderson gets paid this offseason. In the crazy land that is free agency there is little doubting a herd of teams will be looking to sign the outfielder, although we have identified the five teams that stand out from the crowd as likely destinations.
5. Chicago Cubs
As the Chicago Cubs enter the third offseason of the Theo Epstein led rebuilding project there is little doubting that fans in the Windy City want to see an upgrade from the 66-96 record compiled in 2013. There is little doubting that outfield would be an easy place to begin these upgrades, as Nate Schierholtz was the only player to appear in over 100 games for the Cubs as an outfielder in 2013. Splashing the cash on Granderson specifically would also make sense as the Illinois native would bring a great attitude to the clubhouse and stabilize the position of center fielder going forward. It would be no surprise to see Epstein offer the outfielder a deal worth four years and $60 million to be the face of a revamped team at Wrigley Field.
4. New York Yankees
As the former team of Granderson it is difficult to believe that the New York Yankees will let the Grandy Man go without at least offering a contract. The outfielder has made it known he prefers to return to the Yankees in 2014, and rumblings out of New York have said the team maintains interest themselves. While fellow outfielders Shin-Soo Choo and Carlos Beltran will come first on the pecking order, don't be surprised if Granderson finds his way back to New York in 2014 on a discounted deal.
3. Chicago White Sox
Much like the Cubs, the Chicago White Sox are undergoing a rebuilding project and could view Granderson as a piece that will help speed up this revival. With only $60 million committed for 2014 and a clubhouse full of youngsters the outfielder makes sense both economically and as a leader. Plus the hometown factor will certainly be rearing its head making it likely that the White Sox will get the Grandy Man if they offer a viable contract.
2. Philadelphia Phillies
During the 2013 season the Philadelphia Phillies finished with a disappointing 73-89 record, although injuries played a large role in this record. Never one to rebuild, the Phillies have made it known they expect to compete in 2014, and it is apparent that center field is a place of need after watching Ben Revere and Jon Mayberry platoon last year. Signing Granderson would immediately fix this need, bring an impact bat and add a positive presence to the clubhouse. Plus the center fielder has made it known that he is interested in playing in the National League for the first time in his career, making him a perfect match for the Phillies.
1. New York Mets
The undoubted front-runner to acquire Granderson this offseason is the New York Mets, who have already contacted the center fielder. After watching Jason Bay and Johan Santana's contracts fall off the books there is little doubting the Mets have loads of money to spend this offseason. And after scoring the 24th most runs in MLB last season it is apparent the team needs an impact bat. Likewise after watching Juan Lagares struggle mightily at center field in 2013, there is little doubting the Mets will be offering loads of cash to Granderson to sign with them. At this point they must be considered the front-runner.