Former Tigers/Yankees/Mets/Dodger OF Curtis Granderson just signed a one-year, 5 million dollar contract to play for the Toronto Blue Jays.
What a fantastic waste of money.
First, to avoid coming off like a curmudgeon, I believe Granderson can still play. And, he could end up being a good platoon split with Steve Pierce. Is he worth $5 million? Perhaps. Is he going to make a difference to a team that is grasping at straws to compete in the American League East? No, he’s not.
That’s what makes this signing so perplexing.
I understand the fan base wants a winner. They are justifiably excited about retaining Josh Donaldson, one of (if not THE) best third baseman in the majors. That helps but they are still nowhere near the level of the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.
These days, the Rogers Center averages just under 40,000 fans per game, good for 5th in Major League Baseball. The Jays strong fan base will be hopeing for a competitive team this year.
But, the 2015 playoff run has all but been forgotten and the Jays have been slipping ever since. And Granderson, who turns 37 shortly before the start of the 2018 season, has seen better days.
His decline was evident in 2013/2014, going from the Yankees to the New York Mets for a couple of seasons (2014-17).
In 2015, Granderson saw an unexpected resurgence. His WAR jumped from sub-2 (slightly average) all the way up to 5.1 (considered All-Star level). Since then, he’s had two sub-2 WAR seasons while seeing his playing time decline.
Its got to the point where managers won’t even let him sniff left-handing pitching anymore.
His splits have been skewed for several years, however, but it further limits his playing time with the lot of lefties present in the American League East.
Is Granderson an upgrade over what the Jays have in the outfield? Yes, albeit a small one.
The Blue Jays sat at 10th in home runs, parked between the Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers. Most of their power production is still there.
So why Granderson?
Maybe Granderson was signed on the value of his name; a familiar player who will put a few more butts in the seats. And, its only a one-year deal; a throw of the dice for the Blue Jays front office.
What’s more likely is ownership trying to demonstrate to fans that they aren’t throwing in the towel; a respectable gesture.
With the likelihood the Blue Jays will be far out of the pennant race in the AL East, the time to rebuild will occur perhaps through a fire sale at the trading deadline. A player like Granderson isn’t going to prevent that from happening.