Yankees Trade Scenarios: 7 Curtis Granderson Deals That Could Work out for NY
The talent pool for a free-agent center fielder is pretty deep this winter.
There's the biggest prize in Texas Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton, who is looking for a mega-deal right now.
Then there is also B.J. Upton, Michael Bourn, Angel Pagan and Shane Victorino, who might not be on the superstar level of Hamilton, but are very good players.
While teams are going to feel a little bummed out if they miss on one of these quality players in free agency, there is a fallback option.
Granderson is only signed for 2013 with a $15 million deal that was actually an option the Yankees picked up last month.
Buster Olney of ESPN speculated almost two weeks ago about if and potentially when the Yankees and GM Brian Cashman might start getting phone calls regarding Granderson's availability.
Considering the high prices on the FA center fielders, you wonder if teams will start calling NYY on Granderson, who has one-yr., $15m deal.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) November 19, 2012
I personally would like to hold onto Granderson, but if Cashman could ever find the right deal that benefits the team long-term, then I can't be opposed to it.
Here are seven potential trade scenarios in which the Yankees could unload Granderson this winter.
The Braves likely won't have Michael Bourn back for 2013, as he is in the free-agent class of center fielders that I mentioned earlier.
However, they are one of the few teams in hot pursuit of B.J. Upton.
If Atlanta does miss out on landing Upton, they could be a prime candidate to land Granderson from the Yankees.
They always have decent prospects in their farm system, as we have seen guys like Jason Heyward and Tommy Hanson thrive in the majors.
If the Yankees want to look for prospects from Atlanta, they could look at Julio Teheran, Sean Gilmartin or J.R. Graham if they want to get pitching prospects for the future.
But like I said before, Atlanta's interest in Granderson would only come if Upton goes elsewhere.
The one name that I've heard the Cincinnati Reds tied to this winter is Shane Victorino.
Victorino is being courted by seven different teams, so who knows where he lands this winter?
The Reds could be a potential landing spot for Granderson and he could fit into a lineup that already has good talent.
Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Todd Frazier and Brandon Phillips are the core hitters of the lineup and adding a 40-home run hitter in Granderson would only make them stronger.
They do have Drew Stubbs as their center fielder, but Granderson's a better hitter for power than Stubbs is, and if they ever did want to trade for Granderson, I can see Walt Jocketty moving Stubbs elsewhere.
As far as prospects go, I'm pretty sure speedy shortstop Billy Hamilton is off-limits considering he's supposed to be the next great base-stealer of baseball, so I don't know what the Yankees really would ask for in this kind of trade scenario.
I'm not exactly too keen on the idea of making a playoff contender in the American League better.
However, the Texas Rangers could potentially lose two of their top hitters in their lineup this winter, Josh Hamilton and Mike Napoli.
The Rangers do have Leonys Martin, who they could turn to, but Martin only hit .174 with the team in limited action in 2012.
If Texas does lose out on Hamilton, I could see them having some interest in Granderson. who could fit into a lineup with sluggers like Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz.
As far as players the Yankees could look into, I'm almost certain that shortstop Jurickson Profar is off-limits to all teams.
If the Yankees really wanted to make this interesting, they could see if they could include third basemen Mike Olt in the deal, although I'm not sure how keen Jon Daniels would be on dealing his No. 2 prospect.
Or, they could look to No. 3 prospect, left-hander Martin Perez, who could be in the majors again in 2013.
There was no team who had a more disappointing season in 2012 than the Phillies.
Everyone had the Phillies pegged for a sixth straight N.L. East title, but between injuries and disappointing play, the Phillies ended up having to be sellers in the summer.
The Phillies already have an older lineup with Ryan Howard (33), Chase Utley (34) and Jimmy Rollins (34).
Even their two aces Roy Halladay (35) and Cliff Lee (34) are getting up in age too.
Granderson will be 32 once the season starts, so he would be a younger player given what their lineup is filled with right now.
But in all honesty, the Phillies do need to get younger. Much, much younger.
However, given that their outfield was gutted in the summer, they could use someone like Granderson to put in their lineup.
The top three prospects in the Phillies system are all pitchers—Jesse Biddle, Trevor May and Brody Colvin—who could all pique the Yankees' interest in a deal.
The Nationals already have three starting outfielders in Michael Morse, Bryce Harper and Jayson Werth.
Yet they are the one team I keep hearing about as having interest in free agent Michael Bourn.
In fact, in some of the free-agent prediction stories that were done, some felt the Nationals would be the front-runners to land Bourn, even though they have a starting outfield already.
Which means to me that they could try to move Morse because they are building their future around Harper, and there's not too many teams that would be willing to take Werth and his contract off their hands.
If in fact they're looking to make an addition to the outfield, Granderson could certainly intrigue Mike Rizzo's interest if he loses out on Bourn.
The Nationals have two of their top prospects whom the Yankees could be interested in—third basemen Anthony Rendon and right-hander Alex Meyer.
Trading Granderson to the Nationals is a long shot, but I wouldn't completely count it out of the equation.
San Francisco Giants
In today's game, the San Francisco Giants may be the closest thing to being a dynasty given that they've won two out of the past three World Series.
The defending champions have one of the top free agents on the market in Angel Pagan, who really turned out to be a solid acquisition when they got him from the New York Mets last winter.
I know Giants GM Brian Sabean has Pagan and Marco Scutaro as his top priorities this winter, and I really think Pagan wants to come back to San Francisco.
However, if for some reason Sabean lets Pagan slip, he could look to the Yankees and Brian Cashman for help in center field.
The Giants have Gregor Blanco in left and Hunter Pence in right, but nobody in center right now with Pagan on the market.
Three of the top four prospects in the Giants' system are all starting pitchers—Kyle Crick, Chris Stratton and Clayton Blackburn—and all three are about two years away from being major league-ready.
The Giants' prime focus of their team is the pitching staff; Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum and Madison Bumgarner all came from the Giants farm system.
They've tried over the years to build an offense, and adding Granderson in center field would definitely be adding a major offensive weapon to Bruce Bochy's lineup.
The Seattle Mariners have been a frequent trading partner of the New York Yankees in recent time.
This past January, they made the deal to send Jesus Montero for Michael Pineda.
And in July, the Yankees acquired Ichiro Suzuki for two minor league pitchers.
The Mariners have one of the worst-ranked offenses in the American League, and they could certainly use all the help they can get.
They've been rumored to have interest in Mike Napoli as well as Yankees catcher Russell Martin, both current free agents.
If the Mariners are looking to add some pop into their lineup, Granderson would definitely be an upgrade to what they have now.
The Mariners' top two prospects in their system right now are starting pitchers Taijuan Walker and Danny Hultzen.
We know Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik is not going to trade Felix Hernandez anytime soon, but I wonder what his stance is on trading some of his top prospects.
If you ask me right now, I don't think the Yankees will trade Curtis Granderson.
Why? Unless Brian Cashman gets an overwhelming offer, he has no major reason to deal away his starting center fielder.
The only way I see the Yankees trading away Granderson is if they get a suitable replacement for him.
They could put Brett Gardner back in center, but why mess with their left field situation, especially considering how good Gardner is out in the field.
The one move I could see them making is for Shane Victorino, who is part of the free-agent class.
The Yankees could try and see if he wants to play right field, or the Yankees could use him as their center fielder and then trade Granderson.
But I am considering that a long shot given that the Yankees are one of the reported seven teams interested in his services.
In the end, I think Granderson stays in the Bronx for at least one more season.