Was Signing Curtis Granderson A Mistake?

 

Curtis Granderson New York Mets - Photo Credit: Slgckgc (Flickr Creative Commons)
Curtis Granderson New York Mets – Photo Credit: Slgckgc (Flickr Creative Commons)

New York Mets right fielder Curtis Granderson singled off of Michael Wacha in the first inning of Wednesday night’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals, snapping a career-worst 0-for-22 streak.

That hit brought Granderson’s batting average for the season up to .125 (9-for-72), with four doubles and one home run. Fans who were concerned about whether Granderson would hit home runs at Citi Field are now wondering if he will hit at all.

And despite the relatively small sample size, it’s not an unreasonable concern. Granderson is 33 and hasn’t been much of a hitter for average or on-base percentage for most of his career.

Over the course of the season, Granderson will probably get his batting average up into the .220-.230 range and hit his 25 or 30 home runs, but it’s a safe bet that his All-Star days are behind him.

Mets manager Terry Collins moved Granderson out of the cleanup spot this week, a position that he has rarely been asked to fill during his career. With the Detroit Tigers, Granderson frequently led off. The New York Yankees regarded him more as a slugger, but he was a complementary hitter in a deep lineup who usually batted second.

Mets GM Sandy Alderson gave Granderson a four-year, $60 million contract this winter to be the guy who would provide protection for David Wright. So far it hasn’t worked out, and now Wright is trying to provide lineup protection for Granderson.

Alderson knew he needed to add a “name” outfielder this offseason, and Granderson , who already had proven success in New York with the Yankees, was the least expensive option.

Shin-Soo Choo, a better player who many believed would end up with the Mets early in the off-season, got a seven-year, $130 million back loaded contract from the Texas Rangers. Jacoby Ellsbury, who most recognized would be out of the Mets’ price range, got a seven-year, $153 million contract from the Yankees.

If Alderson really didn’t have the financial flexibility to sign one of them, he could have brought back Marlon Byrd for a lot less money than he gave Granderson. Byrd ended up signing a two-year, $16 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Granted, Byrd is not off to the best start either – he’s hitting .238 (19-for-80) with two home runs and four doubles – but those numbers look great next to Granderson’s. And Byrd will be off the books after 2015, while Granderson will be on the Mets’ payroll for two years beyond that.

If the Mets do not have the financial resources to compete as a big market team, they need to make smart moves. It’s hard to see Granderson’s contract as anything other than an expensive mistake at this point.

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~Paul Hadsall

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