Yankees, Tigers, D’backs complete big trade

Curtis Granderson is all set to put on the pinstripes. Only one

thing to settle: What number does he wear for the New York

Yankees?

The World Series champions landed yet another All-Star, getting

the speedy center fielder from Detroit in a three-team trade

Wednesday that included Arizona.

Granderson has worn No. 28 for nearly his entire career. But Joe

Girardi may well take it next season – the manager might bump up

one digit to show he’s now focused on winning the Yankees’ 28th

title.

“Of course, he’s the man,” Granderson said on a conference

call. “He’s the one that makes everything go. He’s going to

definitely have first dibs on it and if he chooses to take it, hey,

I’ll step back.”

A day after the three teams reached a tentative agreement on the

seven-player swap, they checked all the medical records and

completed the first major trade of the winter meetings.

Arizona acquired All-Star pitcher Edwin Jackson from Detroit and

right-hander Ian Kennedy from the Yankees.

The Tigers came to Indianapolis looking to shed payroll and did

exactly that – they got lefty reliever Phil Coke and outfield

prospect Austin Jackson from New York, plus touted young pitchers

Max Scherzer and Daniel Schlereth from Arizona.

“The Granderson piece is something we’re really happy about,”

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. “We’re not a finished

product. We have areas of need.”

Granderson takes over for Melky Cabrera and Brett Gardner in

center for the Yankees. Cashman said the trade doesn’t necessarily

preclude them from re-signing free agents Johnny Damon and Hideki

Matsui, the World Series MVP.

“We’re still fluid in our discussions,” Cashman said.

At 28, Granderson was a first-time All-Star last season when he

had 30 home runs, 71 RBIs and 20 steals. The lefty’s batting

average has fallen from .302 in 2007 to .280 in 2008 to .249 last

year.

Granderson hit just .183 against left-handers and struck out 141

times overall. The Yankees plan to bat him second vs. righties and

near the bottom of the lineup against lefties.

Anything is fine by him.

“It’s a good change. Change has always been good,” he said.

“Everything is going to be a first again. I’ve got to go in and

meet the clubhouse guys, got to meet new teammates, a new coaching

staff. Where do I park? Where do I come in at?”

Tigers manger Jim Leyland gushed about Granderson earlier in the

day.

“I think, in my opinion, Curtis Granderson is one of the things

that’s all good about baseball in today’s baseball world. He is one

heck of a player. He has a great face. He’s very bright. He’s very

articulate. He’s everything that’s good about baseball,” Leyland

said. “He’s the total package.”

Detroit missed the playoffs after a late collapse and hoped to

cut costs after a big attendance drop at Comerica Park. Granderson

is owed $25.75 million through 2012.

“It was a business decision,” Tigers general manager Dave

Dombrowski said. “We were in a position where we just need to,

based upon our situation right now, make some adjustments.”

The three teams began serious talks in the last month and the

trade evolved. The Tigers started out by asking for two of the

Yankees’ prized pitchers, Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain.

Edwin Jackson, a 26-year-old righty who is eligible for salary

arbitration, was 13-9 with a 3.62 ERA in 33 starts for the Tigers.

He held opponents to a .247 batting average in 214 innings.

Kennedy, who turns 25 on Dec. 19, impressed when he came up from

the minors at the end of the 2007 season, going 1-0 with a 1.89 ERA

in three starts. He’s been slowed by injuries the past two

seasons.

Kennedy strained a muscle near his right ribcage and had

bursitis in his right shoulder blade in 2008, when he was 0-4 with

an 8.17 ERA. He pitched in only one big league game this year, when

he was sidelined by surgery May 12 to remove an aneurysm from

beneath his right biceps.

“We feel the addition of two starters will solidify our

rotation,” Arizona general manager Josh Byrnes said. “Edwin

Jackson is a young All-Star who has continued to improve in recent

years, and Ian Kennedy is a former first-rounder with a history of

success and a tremendous feel for pitching.”

Coke was 4-3 with a 4.50 ERA in 72 relief appearances. He gave

up two runs in 1 1-3 innings in the World Series.

Austin Jackson, 22, was regarded as one of the Yankees’ top

prospects. He hit .300 last season at Triple-A

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre with 23 doubles, four homers, 65 RBIs and 24

steals.

Scherzer, the 11th overall pick in the 2006 amateur draft, is a

25-year-old righty who went 9-11 with a 4.12 ERA in 30 starts for

Arizona last season, striking out 174 in 170 1-3 innings.

Schlereth, a 23-year-old lefty, was the 26th pick in the 2008

amateur draft. He made his major league debut this year and went

1-4 with a 5.89 ERA in 21 relief appearances with 22 strikeouts in

18 1-3 innings. He is the son of former NFL offensive lineman and

current ESPN football analyst Mark Schlereth.