Yankees still have interest in Granderson

BY Bob Klapisch • December 8, 2009

The breakdown of a complex, three-way deal that would've sent Curtis Granderson to the Yankees Monday night does not mean Brian Cashman is looking elsewhere for a new centerfielder. He's still lasering in on Granderson, and could try to land him in a one-on-one trade with the Tigers.

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It remains to be seen what such a swap would actually cost the Yankees, but the fact that they're still in possession of several key assets — notably Austin Jackson — means the Bombers are still very much in the running for Roy Halladay.

But Granderson first. The Yankees have been chasing him since the general managers meetings in November, convinced he has the energy and charisma of Johnny Damon in his prime, and the home run capability of Hideki Matsui. Granderson will be 29 during the 2010 season and comes at a very reasonable $25.75 million over the next three years.

The only minuses are Granderson's struggles against left-handed pitching (.183 last year) and his high strikeout ratio, approximately one every four at-bats. The Yankees take pride in rarely swinging and missing (they finished with the second-lowest strikeout total in the American League in 2009) and instead exhaust pitchers by working deep into counts.

But Granderson's other skill sets are too tempting for the Yankees to resist, including his durability — he's averaged 155 games a year since 2006 — and his maturity and professionalism, which would allow him to easily assimilate in New York's overheated environment.

The Yankees would consider it a clean sweep if they could walk away with Granderson, leverage Johnny Damon down to two years, $20 million and snare Halladay as well. It's all still possible considering the Jays have decided there's no fit with the Dodgers in a potential deal for their ace right-hander.

The pool of suitors for Halladay has essentially narrowed to the Angels, Yankees and Red Sox in a contest of which GM is willing to sacrifice the more coveted young pitcher. The Sox, for one, would like to keep Clay Buchholz, just as the Yankees are loathe to part with Phil Hughes.

But if Toronto can be convinced to accept Joba Chamberlain instead, as well as Jackson as part of any trade, the Yankees could have their man. The organization is (was) hoping to keep the payroll under $200 million this year, an estimated five percent roll back from 2009, but they'd gladly toss that edict out the window for Halladay.

"That would be a killer (rotation)," one senior executive said of a potential Halladay-CC Sabathia-A.J. Burnett lineup. And that doesn't even include Andy Pettitte, who's expected to sign a one-year deal for about $12 million in the next few days.

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