Why New York Yankees Should Sell High on Curtis Granderson Now

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Why New York Yankees Should Sell High on Curtis Granderson Now
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Curtis Granderson celebrates a victory on October 7, 2012 after a Game 1 victory in the 2012 AL Division Series against the Baltimore Orioles.

Ironically, Curtis Granderson's recent emergence into one of baseball's most prestigious power threats is one reason why the New York Yankees should deal him right now. 

After coming to the Bronx in a trade with the Detroit Tigers in 2009, Granderson has made significant improvements in his overall game. 

Tiring work with Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long to shorten his swing has helped the outfielder develop into a more consistent and more powerful hitter. 

As a result, the home run totals, run production and success against left-handed pitchers have all increased. 

Now, after back-to-back AL All-Star selections, Granderson has seemingly put it all together. So with one year left on his hefty contract, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman might want to see what he can get back for the versatile outfielder. 

And here's why:

 

Peak Value 

Thanks to hard work with Kevin Long, Granderson has put together back-to-back 40 HR, 100-plus RBI seasons. Not one other player in all of baseball can say the same. 

His average against left-handed pitchers has jumped significantly in each of the past three seasons and nearly .100 points overall (.183 in 2009 to .272 in 2012). 

Such dramatic spikes in production mean that Curtis Granderson is entering the prime of his career. And at the age of 31, it might just be the perfect time for the Yankees to get a return on their investment. 

 

Different Style of Play

Just as I argue that Granderson is entering the prime of his career and posting numbers unlike any player in baseball, Yankees fans might be wondering why we should let such a player of his caliber go.

Well, whether we like it or not, the style of play in New York may very well be changing. 

After crushing 30 more home runs than any team in baseball a season ago, the Yankees have lost a tremendous amount of power over the offseason.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Alex Rodriguez watches from the bench during Game 4 of the 2012 ALCS against the Detroit Tigers.

In addition to Alex Rodriguez, who could miss the entire year for hip surgery, New York will be without Nick Swisher, Russell Martin, Raul Ibanez, Eric Chavez and Andruw Jones in 2013. Together, those players accounted for a whopping 112 (or 46 percent) of the team's 245 home runs last year. 

As such, Joe Girardi will likely be forced to play a slightly different style of baseball more focused on manufacturing runs and "small ball." Chances are the Yankees won't be able to rely on the long ball to bail them out of sticky situations. 

And after an abysmal offensive showing in the 2012 postseason, that might be a good thing. 

 

Depth in the Outfield 

The final reason that the New York Yankees might want to consider trading Curtis Granderson has less to do with the "now" and more to do with the future. 

As the 31-year-old outfielder's contract gets set to expire at the end of this season, expect the free agent to require another hefty payday and long-term agreement in return for his services. 

Such a commitment might be ill-advised for a Yankees team that has depth at the position and one of baseball's most prolific infields.

According to MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo, three of the organization's top five prospects including Mason Williams, Tyler Austin and Slade Heathcott are versatile outfielders.

Add in a rejuvenated Ichiro and the return of Brett Gardner from a lingering elbow injury and New York might have enough reason to part ways with one of the game's elite power hitters.

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