Opprotunity Lost: The Granderson Trade From The Mets Perspective

Matt ClementeContributor IDecember 8, 2009

OAKLAND, CA - JULY 01:  Curtis Granderson #28 of the Detroit Tigers looks on from the dugout prior to the Major League Baseball game against the Oakland Athletics at the Oakland Coliseum on July 1, 2009 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

While the New York Mets were talking with Yorvit Torrealba's agent, their cross-town rivals, the New York Yankees were finalizing a blockbuster trade for Detroit centerfielder Curtis Granderson, as several sources have confirmed. 

As part of a three-way trade also including the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Yankees would send the Ian Kennedy to the Diamondbacks and reliever Phil Coke and prospect Austin Jackson to the Tigers.  The Tigers, who perhaps made out best in the trade, will also receive 25-year-old starter Max Scherzer and 23-year-old reliever Daniel Schlereth from the Diamondbacks.  In return, Arizona would additionally acquire starter Edwin Jackson. 

Although I would not mind if the Mets got the Tigers' end of the deal either, there is no reason that they did not land Granderson. 

Sure, Granderson has his faults, notably he can’t lefties very well, but there are a myriad of ways in which his all-star would have been a great fit in New York…well in Queens. 

First, he would have filled one of the biggest voids in the Mets’ depth chart: left field. 

Second, Granderson is a superb defender.  In the spacious Citi Field, his defensive prowess would be a great booster to the Mets outfield defense. 

Third, he is locked into a favorable contract.  The now former Detroit center fielder is locked in at $5.5 million for 2010, $8.25 million for 2011: $10 million in 2012:, and $13 million club option in 2013 with $2 million buyout. 

Such a contract would allow the Amazin’s to have acquired a top notch Lackey-level starter as a No. 2 starter because they would not have to break the bank on free agents Jason Bay or Matt Holliday to play left.   

Fourth, the Mets need power.  Although a leadoff man most of career, Granderson slugged 30 home runs last season.  If Granderson had gone to Queens instead of the Bronx, he could have slid into the five spot, making the Mets middle of the order Wright-Beltran-Granderson.  Not many teams would have had 30 HR, 20 SB potential out of 3-5. 

Lastly, the Mets had the prospects for the deal.  The might not have enough talent to land Toronto ace Roy Halladay or San Diego slugger Adrian Gonzalez, but they certainly could have mustered a better package than the Yankees offered.

According to minorleaguebal.com , heading into the 2009 season Austin Jackson was a Grade B prospect, while Coke was a C+.  Kennedy, who missed most of 2009, was unranked.  Meanwhile the Mets had to offer Fernando Martinez, who was a B+, and Bobby Parnell, a C+ prior to a great season out of the pen.   Additionally, the Mets could have offered Jonathan Niese, who was a Grade B. 

I am not saying that the Mets should have offered all three simply for Granderson.  But considering the way the deal went down, it is not beyond plausibility to think that they could have netted Granderson and either Edwin Jackson or Max Scherzer with such a package (filling the Mets second biggest need as a No. 2). 

I am on the record as a defender of the general manager Omar Minaya’s patience so far in the Winter Meeting.  That being said, you gotta strike when the iron is hot.  Missing the boat on Granderson makes Minaya’s hot seat a little hotter.