Where’s Randy Smith when you need him?
Where’s Randy and his Detroit-to-San Diego shuttle?
Edwin Jackson pitches now in Arizona, which means he will soon be out of sight, out of mind. The Tigers may as well have traded him to Siberia. Jackson is a Diamondback now, whatever that is. You won’t hear a peep out of him after Easter.
Curtis Granderson, on the other hand, is another story.
A Tigers fan base in mourning today could use a Randy Smith trade, for maybe Granderson would be a Padre, playing in San Diego, where I’m not even sure they have big league baseball anymore.
Instead, Granderson is in New York. A Yankee. You can’t hide him there. As long as he wears pinstripes, it’ll be an in-your-face, impossible to ignore fact: Curtis Granderson, ex-Tiger, and playing big league baseball in the No. 1 media market in the solar system.
The Yankees snapped him up. They always do that. Even Bubba Trammell played in the Bronx, you know. So did Gabe Kapler and Karim Garcia and Tommy Brookens and Aurelio Rodriguez and Willie Horton was even a Yankees coach, for gosh sakes.
Well, you can stomp your feet and hold your breath and cross your arms and pout all you want, but it ain’t gonna change the fact that Granderson, beloved in Detroit, will still wear blue and white, but instead of the Old English D it’ll be the intertwined N and Y on his New Era cap in 2010, and beyond.
You think he was baseball’s ambassador before? Immerse him in New York’s glitz and glamour and it’s like dipping that yummy ice cream cone into fudge syrup and sprinkles.
The Yankees have him now. The ghost of Harry Frazee reappeared at the winter meetings, in the form of Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski, who sold Granderson off to the Yanks just as Red Sox owner Frazee did with Babe Ruth so Harry could pay for a show he wanted to finance.
Frazee, er, Dombrowski, turned Granderson in for some might bes and can’t misses, and saved his owner a lot of pizza dough in the process. It used to be that you checked scouting reports before you made trades. Now you check bottom lines.
This trading of Granderson and Jackson might make the bookkeepers of the world happy, but what about the baseball people? Oh, they’re happy in New York, of course. The Yankees just rooked another rummy.
The Tigers seemed hellbent on trading both Granderson and Jackson this week. It appeared to be their mission. So eager were they to succeed that, reportedly, Dombrowski got itchy and lowered his asking price of the Yanks. Pitcher Phil Hughes was supposed to be included in the package, but DD told the Yankees, “Eh, that’s OK. Close enough.”
The Tigers got a Coke for a smile.
Lefty reliever Phil Coke is coming to Detroit, along with one of those can’t misses named Austin Jackson, a center fielder. From Arizona, Dombrowski managed an Edwin Jackson-like righty named Max Scherzer and southpaw reliever Daniel Schlereth. At least the Tigers will lead the league with guys whose last names start with Sch.
But the Yankees got their man. They always do. I’m sure their GM, Brian Cashman, could barely suppress his grin when he shook on the deal. Austin Jackson might be a can’t miss and/or a might be, but Curtis Granderson is an IS.
I wasn’t Granderson’s biggest fan this season. Far from it. I wrote a few weeks ago that the mere thought of trading him ought not to be placed in the same category as contemplating drowning puppies, which many of my blogging colleagues all but compared it to.
But my caveat was that you’d better get some big league talent in return, and in the form of multiple bodies.
Well, the Tigers got the multiple bodies thing down, for sure. We’ll see about the former.
Before a line forms at the Ambassador Bridge, before you can’t buy a razor blade in this city, before garage doors close all over town and car ignitions are turned on, remember that trades aren’t judged overnight—literally. Dombrowski might have pulled off quite a caper here; we won’t know for a few years yet.
But what we do know is that an already anemic offense got weaker—for now. In the past week, the Tigers lost the top two men in their batting order—Granderson and 2B Placido Polanco. It’s like the 98-pound weakling dropping weight.
The Yankees, meanwhile, stick Granderson into center field, place him somewhere in the top three in the order, and start selling World Series tickets on Opening Day.
If Dombrowski had shuttled Grandy to San Diego or Arizona or Washington or Pittsburgh, the medicine would probably have gone down smoother for Curtis’s adoring fans. Instead, Granderson will be all over your TV dial, invading every nook and cranny of the Internet, and will be seen in the dugout with Jeter and A-Rod and Teixeira and the rest. Smiling. Broadly.
And Detroit will weep. It started as sniffles during the early hours of the afternoon yesterday, as news of the three-team blockbuster first broke, and progressed to flat-out wailing by suppertime. Curtis Granderson had been traded. I wonder if the reaction would have been the same had the Tigers dealt Al Kaline. Remember him?
But Wayne Gretzky was traded—several times. Hank Aaron was shuffled out of Atlanta. The Giants traded Willie Mays, no less. You think Curtis Granderson was immune?
It’s the Yankees thing—I get it. Anywhere but there, right? Even a trade to the Cubs would have been sufferable, most likely. At least Curtis would be playing in his hometown.
But New York? As if they need any more effervescence. Adding Granderson to New York is like spritzing champagne with carbonated water.
What a waste of a good guy. New York won’t appreciate what Granderson does for life outside of baseball. He’ll be able to walk the streets of Manhattan and the only time he’ll be stopped is if someone happens to ask him for the time. In Detroit, Grandy might one day have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Mayor Dave Bing in front of the groundbreaking for a new playground. In New York, Mayor Michael Bloomberg might not even have time to take his call—if he even knows who Curtis is.
But from a purely baseball perspective, the Yankees will love what Granderson brings to their team. If he ever learns to hit left-handed pitchers, his only days off will come from November thru March.
The Yankees got their man. Again. Comcast just bought NBC and 20 percent of your cable lineup, so why not Granderson to the Yankees? While we’re at it, let’s sell Yahoo to Google and give Nestle’s a great deal on Hershey. Hey, how about getting McBurger King done?
If you’re going to dump salary, there’s no place to do it like in New York. The Yankees aren’t a baseball team, they’re a corporation. They’re the Pac Man of big league baseball—they gobble up contracts insatiably.
Curtis Granderson didn’t have the best of years in 2009, which ironically was the only season in his career in which he made the All-Star team. He found himself on the trading block thanks to his subpar performance and his soon-to-be bulging contract. The Tigers were clearly very eager to swap him away.
I’m not broken up that Granderson is gone, and I know I’m in the minority. Lefties who can’t hit other lefties don’t impress me. But I must share some of the discontent about him landing in New York, of all places. It’s like losing your girlfriend to the All-American quarterback at USC.
It’s OK to be sad. Everyone has my permission. But take a step back from the ledge. The Tigers made a bottom line trade and it just might work out in the long run. Now, whether the artisan of the trade will stick around long enough to see that happen is another question entirely.
See what happens when you blow a three-game lead with four games to play?