2014 MLB Free Agent Profile: Curtis Granderson

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Coming off a year largely spent on the DL, Curtis Granderson may make sense for the Mets.

One of the more interesting players on the free agent market this year is 32-year-old, left-handed batting Curtis Granderson. In four years in the Bronx, Granderson has proved himself as a top-tier outfielder in the American League, belting a league-best 84 home runs between 2011-2012 before a hand injury limited him to 61 games in 2013.

Apart from 2013, Granderson had been a picture of health for most of his career. He busted into the league as a full-time player in 2006, playing plus defense and beginning a stretch of posting a wRC+ 99 or greater every year since. Granderson has always shown considerable power, hitting 19, 23, 22, 30, 24, 41, and 43 home runs seasonally from 2006 through 2012. There has always been concern that his later numbers were an effect of Yankee Stadium's dimensions, however Granderson hit 44 percent of his home runs on the road in 2011 and 2012. And then there's his defense, which according to UZR has greatly degraded in his time with the Yankees, having gone from a career high 17.5 in 2007 to sub-zero marks in 2011 and 2012.

Granderson's career slash line is .261/.340/.488, and even though his power has surged of late, he has not had a batting average above .262 in his time with the Yankees. His wRC+ is much more forgiving, though, as he had marks of 110 in 2010, 146 in 2011, and 116 in 2012, collecting 12.5 fWAR in that span, and even posting a 1.4 fWAR during his limited 2013 playing time. Granderson has always struck out at a frustratingly high rate as well, whiffing more than 26% of the time throughout his career.

The Cost

Granderson is an interesting financial case because this is really his first time being a free agent. Andrew Marchand of ESPN reported that the Yankees will offer a one-year qualifying deal of $14.1 million, but that Granderson will likely decline it hit the open market. We can expect that Granderson will get more on the open market, even after coming off an injury year. Some, including Marchand, have estimated that Granderson could get between $50 and $60 million over four years.

The Fit

Granderson is going to be expensive for a player on the wrong side of 30. Remember that Granderson will be 33 before the 2014 season, and so if he's seeking a four-year deal, he would be a player with declining defense, a declining batting average, and a high strikeout rate signed until he's 37. If the Mets are serious about making this team a long-term contender, Granderson probably isn't the kind of guy that they would go after. Sure, he puts up sexy home run numbers, but the reality is that he's likely not the kind of player to build a team around if the Mets want to be sustainable, spend money appropriately, and keep their precious draft picks.

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