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
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
“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
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
“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
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
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.