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Will Curtis Granderson's Arrival Mean Johnny Damon's Departure from New York?

NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 04:  Johnny Damon #18 of the New York Yankees walks back to the dugout after he struck out in the bottom of the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies in Game Six of the 2009 MLB World Series at Yankee Stadium on November 4, 2009 in the Bronx borough of New York City. The Yankees won 7-3 to win the series 4 games to 2. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
Mike GurnisContributor IDecember 8, 2009

According to several reports published today, the Yankees are close to acquiring center fielder Curtis Granderson from the Detroit Tigers in a three-way deal with the Diamondbacks and Tigers, which involves the Yankees giving up Phil Coke, Ian Kennedy, and prized outfield prospect Austin Jackson.

If this deal does indeed happen, it would be a tremendous pickup for the Yankees, as they've acquired yet another power hitter for the home run-friendly Yankee Stadium, not to mention a very good defensive center fielder.  Not only have the Yankees acquired a great player, but if the reports are true, the Yankees have given up very little in return.

Phil Coke has been used as a lefty specialist by the Yankees, but he has become expendable with Damaso Marte's sudden rise during the 2009 postseason, as he got big out after big out for the Yankees.  Ian Kennedy is still a young pitching prospect, but flopped as a starter with the Yankees. 

Finally, the Yankees will give up Austin Jackson, who is one of the Yankees' top prospects, but by acquiring Granderson, there wouldn't be any room for Austin Jackson anytime in the future with Swisher, Cabrera, Granderson, and Gardner all on the Yankees roster.

Another player that the Yankees probably lose if this deal goes through, although he isn't involved in the trade, is free agent outfielder Johnny Damon.  With the arrival of Granderson, there simply won't be any room in the Yankees outfield for Damon, or in the batting order. 

Granderson, in all likelihood, I would have to believe, will be leading off for the Yankees, although he does have enough pop (30 home runs last season) to be in the middle of the order.

And with the season Derek Jeter had last year as a leadoff guy, Granderson could bat second for all we know.  And considering Damon, as far as I know, hasn't batted anywhere other than the two top spots in the order, this means that not only will Damon not have a place in the outfield, he won't have a spot in the batting order.

So if someone has a gun to my head asking if Damon will be a Yankee in 2010, I would say no.

I could very well be wrong, but it just seems that way.  It's unfortunate, given what Damon has contributed to the Yankees over the years he's been here.  His double steal in Game Four of the World Series is a play for which all Yankee fans will be grateful to him.  He's done enough as a Yankee to virtually erase any memory of him playing for the Red Sox.  Let's just hope he doesn't end up back in Boston.

But nonetheless, the Yankees, if this trade becomes official, are doing what they want to do, and that is to get younger.  Granderson is 28, so it's easy to believe that his best years are still ahead of him.  His arrival also gives the Yankees one of the better defensive outfields in all of baseball, with Swisher and Cabrera/Gardner playing at the corners.

All in all, a very good move by the Yankees, and certainly a big step towards a repeat.

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