Outfielder Curtis Granderson is staying in New York, but is moving from the Bronx to Queens. The outfielder agreed to a four-year, $60 million deal with the New York Mets on Friday, joining the sudden exodus of free agent talent out of Yankee Stadium. Joel Sherman of the New York Post was first to report the contract. Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal followed up with the financial terms.
A return to the Yankees seemed unlikely even before the team inked Jacoby Ellsbury to a seven-year, $153 million contract. Granderson would've had to re-sign for less money and fewer years, while the Yankees were looking upgrade with players like Ellsbury and possibly Shin-Soo Choo.
The White Sox, Red Sox and Mariners had also reportedly shown interest in Granderson. But the Mets were the only club willing to give the 33-year-old a fourth year in a contract offer. Newsday's Marc Carig reported that Granderson was looking for a four-year, $64 million deal on the open market. Obviously, he ended up getting just a bit less ($1 million per year, to be exact), but no other team was interested in meeting those terms. It's the biggest free agent contract the Mets have handed out under Sandy Alderson's tenure as general manager.
Broken forearm and finger injuries limited Granderson to 61 games this past season. That certainly contributed to him compiling the worst numbers of his 10 major league seasons. He batted .229 with a .723 OPS, 13 doubles, seven home runs, 15 RBI and eight stolen bases in 245 plate appearances.
However, in his prior two seasons with the Yankees, Granderson combined to hit 84 homers with 225 RBI, aided greatly by Yankee Stadium's short right-field fences (314 feet down the line, 385 feet in the right-center field alley). Those power numbers are certain to take a dip at Citi Field. Though the Mets moved in the ballpark's outfield fences this year, the right-field line is 330 feet from home plate. The jagged layout of Citi Field's outfield wall also results in a 375-foot distance in right field and 398 feet in the right-center gap.
Those bigger dimensions might require Granderson to return to the gap hitter he was with the Tigers, using his extra-base power and speed to lead the league with 23 triples in 2007 and 13 the following season, taking advantage of Comerica Park's big outfield. (He also hit a combined 64 doubles during that two-year span.) But does Granderson have that type of speed anymore as he transitioned into more of a slugger with the Yankees? The Mets are likely hoping that he does.
Granderson presumably becomes the Mets' left fielder, with Juan Lagares penciled in for center field and other free-agent signing Chris Young playing in right. If Lagares doesn't hit well enough to win the starting spot in center, either corner outfielder could take over that position. Advanced metrics like FanGraphs' Ultimate Zone Rating suggest that Young would be the better defensive choice over Granderson.
The former Yankee's left-handed power bat is certainly needed in the Mets' lineup, especially if Ike Davis can't improve on this season's disappointment or ends up traded during the offseason. The first baseman provided only nine home runs and a .334 slugging percentage to go with a .205 batting average. Lucas Duda could move to first now that all three outfield positions are taken. Another outfielder that figures to change positions is Eric Young Jr., who could switch to second base if Daniel Murphy (another left-handed bat) is dealt away.