The Mets have finally found a free agent outfielder with a price tag they're happy with. According to the New York Post's Joel Sherman, the Mets have pried Curtis Granderson away from their crosstown rivals with a four-year deal worth $60 million.
Granderson missed much of 2013 and was ineffective when he played, but part of that can likely be attributed to a forearm fracture suffered in spring training, followed by a fractured finger from a hit by pitch. He hit just .229/.317/.407, showing some of his normal power, but without the overall hits to make him productive. So long as he's healthy for the Mets, Granderson should have plenty of pop left: in his first three seasons with the Yankees, Granderson batted .247/.337/.506 with 108 homers.
More from our team sites
More from our team sites
Granted, Citi Field doesn't have the same short porch in right field that the left-handed Granderson was able to take advantage of as a Yankee, but the Mets have moved the fences in since the park was first built, and it's not as if Granderson's power existed solely because of his home park. As much as the change of venue from Comerica to Yankee Stadium was Granderson's adjustment against left-handed pitching: after notoriously struggling against southpaws during his tenure with the Tigers, Granderson bumped his production up against them year by year, jumping from an 89 OPS+ versus lefties in 2010 to 184 and 133 marks the following years. Even in his injury-plagued 2013, Granderson still managed to produce against his former nemesis, to the tune of a 145 OPS+. The fact that it's a multi-year trend like this -- and even the below-average 89 OPS+ was a significant improvement -- is a good sign going forward for Granderson and his new club.
The Mets have been in need of offense in their outfield, especially with defense-first Juan Lagares manning center. Granderson will play an outfield corner for New York, and although he's likely a step too slow for center these days given his erratic instincts and routes, he's more than qualified for the role he'll be given.
While the Mets will be missing Matt Harvey from their rotation due to Tommy John surgery, another signing or two like Granderson's could go a long way towards making them competitive in 2014 and beyond, given their strong core in both the rotation and lineup. They aren't there yet, but Granderson is a solid first step.
Granderson turned down a qualifying offer from the Yankees, so he will cost the Mets a draft pick, and give the Yankees a compensatory first-round selection. However, as the Mets finished with a record poor enough to earn them a protected first-round pick, they'll sacrifice their second-rounder and the attached draft budget instead. As the Yankees signed Jacoby Ellsbury earlier this week, they already found their replacement for Granderson.