Oh, my bad. I meant New York Mets’ MVP, not the NL. Sorry. To be the NL MVP, Curtis Granderson would have to outperform his 2011 season, at least. Back then, he hit .262 with 41 home runs, 119 RBIs, 136 runs scored and 25 stolen bases. He’d also have to lead a Mets charge to the top of the NL East, jump into the starting rotation once a week and possibly solve the crisis in Ukraine. Not impossible, just highly unlikely, that’s all.
After an injury-plagued 2013, Mets certainly took a risk in giving the 33-year old Granderson four years at $60 million. If he returns to being the player he was in 2011-2012, even for half his contract, the risk was worth it. The question is, can he be that player again?
Belting 84 homers in two years required a swing adjustment to Yankee Stadium’s short porch. In Citi Field, many of those uppercut swings would have resulted in outs. Granderson can’t take the same approach in Queens as he did in the Bronx, and he probably doesn’t have the raw power to hit more than 30-35 bombs in 2014.
The good news is that with his speed, Granderson can also probably hit 35 doubles and more than a few triples in his new home ballpark, driving in runs in other ways.
Another advantage to switching leagues is Granderson will face generally weaker pitching and lower-intensity games than he did spending most of his playing time in the AL East. He also might have been easing the skids with fans when he stated upon arrival that, “true New Yorkers are Mets fans.” If Granderson gets off to a slow start, a little goodwill may go a long way towards keeping the dozens in attendance from starting a (very) small riot.
Offering lineup protection for David Wright is Granderson’s first responsibility and he should be able to do that, eventually. I see him taking a month or so to figure out Citi Field’s dimensions and he’ll probably have a hard time matching his career .261 average over the course of the season. But throw in 30 HRs, 85-90 RBIs, 100 runs with 150 hits, and Granderson’s presence could help Wright put together an MVP-level season … for the entire league.
And an unexpected playoff run this year with Granderson in the thick of the lineup could turn that $60 million into a bargain. Yeah, Mets’ 2014 MVP; I’d say that’s an achievable goal with a nice enough ring to it.