A Case Study for the Cubs and Granderson

Robert WalshContributor INovember 14, 2009

OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 23: Curtis Granderson #28 of the Detroit Tigers looks on against the Oakland Athletics during a Major League Baseball game on August 23, 2009 at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

So let us think about this for a moment. The following stat line is that of player X's splits against right handed hitters.

451 ABs, 74 Runs, 124 Hits, 19 2Bs, 8 3Bs, 28 HRs, 62 RBIs, 18 SB, 4 CS, 57 BBs, 99 SO, .275 BA, .358 OBP, .539 SLG, .879 OPS.

Isn't this kind stat line what we were all dreaming for last winter?  On top of mashing righties, this player plays center field, and as we all know this is one of the Chicago Cubs most glaring issues both defensively and offensively.  Oh and might I add that Player X usually hits in the leadoff spot as well and at the ripe age of 28 this player is just coming into his prime.   

As for the batting average, this season Player X had a BABIP of just .276, basically meaning that he was a bit unlucky at the plate last year.  But what about his defense you say?  His UZR/150 this year was a modest 1.6 while the Cubs had Koske "Helicopter Strikeout Swing" Fukudome and his UZR/150 of minus-18.1 patrolling CF most of the year. 

What if I told you that this guy out homered the next best centerfielder in 2009 by a total of four homeruns.  How about letting you know that this guy had 23 3Bs just two years ago. 

Since being granted the everyday job in 2006, Player X has played in 141 games, or more every year.  In every full season since then he has compiled at least 90 runs scored, 155 hits, 23 2Bs, eight 3Bs, 19 HRs, and 66 RBIs.  Remember now these stats are the minimum numbers that he has put up since coming into the league.  Now take those minimum stats per year and look at this year’s roster. 

If he would have been on the Cubs team this year and if he would have hit his minimum stats per year he would have ranked: 

3rd on the team in games played, behind Koske Fukudome and Derek Lee

2nd in runs scored behind Lee

3rd in total hits, behind Ryan Theriot and Derek Lee

4th in doubles, behind Derek Lee, Koske Fukudome, and Soriano

1st in triples, with the closest being Theriot and Fukudome (both with only 5)

3rd in HRs, behind Lee and Soriano

2nd in runs batted in behind Lee once again


(Remember, these are his career LOWS.  Think about that for a second. )

Much is being said about this player’s inability to hit left handed pitches.  This players struggles again left handed hitters is well documented and his splits this year again them looks like such:

180 ABs, 17 Runs, 33 Hits, 4 2Bs, 0 3Bs, 2 HRs, 9 RBIs, 15 BBs, 42 SOs, 2 SBs, 2 CS, .183 BA, .245 OBP, .239 SLG, and .484 OPS.

Yes this does not look very pretty, and the things being said about his inability to hit them have some merit. 

However he did hit .259 against lefties in 2008, which shows some promise, yet this was probably somewhat of a fluke seeing as though each season besides that he hit at most .218. 

This however, is the only flaw on his career thus far.  He is a good clutch hitter a good fielder, and can mash righties in ways that no other CF in the majors has been able to.  At a reasonable price, $23.75 million for the two years left on his contract, Player X is someone that would improve just about every team in the majors at this point, much less the Cubs. 

Now pretend for a second like you didn't know who I was talking about. 

Player X = Curtis Granderson. 

When thinking about whether or not this would be a good idea for the Cubs I have come to the conclusion that this is a no brainer.  However, I must say that the price the Detroit Tigers might want may be out of hand.  This is starting to sound like the new Brian Roberts, but the thing about that comparison is that Detroit needs to cut payroll while Baltimore never really had a reason to give up Roberts.  They would much rather send him to the NL where he would be playing them multiple times a year instead of sending him to the already unstoppable Yankees, or even the mighty Angels out west. 

So this gives Hendry and the Cubs some leverage when it comes to trade talks.  Jim Hendry, with all the dumb moves he has made in recent years, has a chance right now to get a good if not great player for a reasonable price if he plays his cards right.  However, if the Cubs must give up some young talent, I would hope that they are smart enough to not trade off the best of the up and coming talent in our farm system. 

Josh Vitters is a name we have all known for about a year now and still looks to have a bright future ahead of him.  Starlin Castro, the newest Cubs mega prospect, has been said to look like a future all star as well.  These players shouldn't be dealt for their is no reason for Hendry to have to do so to get Granderson. 

The Cubs farm, as surprising as it may be to most, does have a bunch of other promising prospects, such as pitchers Andrew Cashner or Jay Jackson, that could be a part of a deal that would include the super slugging Jake Fox.  Catcher Wellington Castillo has a monster of an arm, throwing out 44 percent of minor league base runners, could also be seen as a piece to this puzzle. 

Realistically speaking, Hendry should be able to come up with a package that doesn't include Vitters or Castro while still making the Tigers more than happy. 

However, this scenario all depends on one player.  That player is Milton Bradley, and the ridiculous contract that Hendry gave him last year in a desperate attempt to gain balance in a lineup that led the league in just about every offensive category in 2008.  The Cubs are now in a position that includes needing a couple of veteran relievers as well as a stable second base option when we all find out that Jeff Baker is not the guy he made us all love last year. 

Until the Cubs unload Bradley's contract, and if they are able to do so without eating most of the contract, the Cubs simply cannot afford to go after another outfielder that will be making $10 million plus per year.  But if they are able to do so, the Cubs should pounce on the opportunity to get a guy who would not only fill the needs for next year in CF, but will probably become a mainstay just as we have seen Derek Lee and Aramis Ramirez in recent years.  Lee and Ramirez were acquired without much talent and given the position of our farm system as of right now, pulling off a deal for Granderson shouldn't be that much of a problem for Hendry. 


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