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Curtis Granderson’s years with the Mets should be remembered fondly

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The extremely likable outfielder returns to New York as a Blue Jay.

New York Mets v New York Yankees Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The the ripe old baseball age of 37, outfielder Curtis Granderson is still playing the game. Having spent nearly four full seasons with the Mets from 2014 through 2017, he finished last season with the Dodgers before hitting free agency. In a very slow offseason that saw players’ salaries greatly depressed, Granderson signed a one-year, $5 million contract with the Blue Jays, his fifth major league team.

While he was a Met, Granderson always felt a little bit under-appreciated. Signed to a four-year, $60 million contract in the 2013-14 offseason, he was cast a too-expensive player who was already well into his 30s when the deal began. But even his first season, which was considered disappointing by many, wasn’t all that bad. Granderson hit .227/.326/.388 with 20 home runs and a 107 wRC+. The rest of his Mets tenure went much better than that, though.

There were plenty of things that went into the Mets’ outstanding 2015 season, and Granderson sometimes got lost in the mix. But from the beginning of the season to the end, he was undoubtedly the team’s most valuable position player—if not the best player on the roster. The Mets probably wouldn’t have climbed from their late-July low point to the National League pennant that year without trading for Yoenis Cespedes, but they wouldn’t have been in a position to begin that climb without Granderson’s performance.

In total, Granderson played 157 games and made 682 plate appearances that year, making him a model of ever-elusive durability on a team that rarely attains it. He hit .259/.364/.457 with 26 home runs, a 131 wRC+, and 5.3 fWAR. He topped off that regular season with a very good posteason, putting up a .976 OPS in the NLDS that saw the Mets beat the Dodgers. And after struggling in the NLCS, Granderson hit extremely well in the World Series: .250/.360/.700 with three home runs in 25 plate appearances.

World Series - Kansas City Royals v New York Mets - Game Five Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The two seasons that followed that performance weren’t quite as good, but they were far from a major downfall. Granderson hit 30 home runs as the Mets made it back to the postseason via the Wild Card game in 2016, and his line earned him a 114 wRC+ and, combined with the rest of his game, 3.1 fWAR. He was once again a durable player as many of his teammates succumbed to injuries, playing in 150 games and making 633 plate appearances.

Even Granderson’s final season with the Mets—barring an unexpected reunion at some point before he retires—didn’t go poorly. After a miserable start to the season that had a whole lot of people declaring his career over, Granderson came back in a big, big way. He finished the month of April with a 3 wRC+ on the season, and that’s a metric that you don’t want to match your uniform number unless you are exactly Turk Wendell.

From there, he put together a spectacular stretch that brought him up to a .228/.334/.481 line with a 115 wRC+. The Mets dealt him to the Dodgers late last year, and they wound up bringing back relief pitcher Jacob Rhame in the deal. Granderson struggled with the Dodgers and ultimately didn’t make that team’s World Series roster. But his Mets career went very well and should be appreciated accordingly.

By fWAR, that 2015 season from Granderson currently stands as the 30th-best single season by a position player in franchise history. That might not sound like much, but that list is peppered with players who are considered Mets legends—David Wright, John Olerud, Carlos Beltran, Howard Johnson, Gary Carter, Darryl Strawberry, Edgardo Alfonzo, Mike Piazza, and Keith Hernandez all make at least one appearance—and a handful of players who appear once, including Bernard Gilkey, Robin Ventura, and Lance Johnson. The fact that Granderson had that season in the year the Mets went to the World Series is not a coincidence.

All of this is not to say that Granderson’s place in Mets history should be inflated. But with one great season and just shy of three full good ones, he was more than worth his contract. And with the way he’s hitting for the Blue Jays right now, he’d easily be one of the best hitters on the team if he were still with the Mets.