Blockbuster kicks Winter Meetings into high gear
Chris Ruddick, MLB Editor
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
After a relatively quiet first day at Major League Baseball's Winter Meetings in Indianapolis, the New York Yankees - who else - fired the first salvo to really get things rolling.
The Yankees are on the verge of pulling off a three-team, seven-player blockbuster, as they acquired center fielder Curtis Granderson from the Detroit Tigers, with the Arizona Diamondbacks also having a part in the deal.
Detroit picked up righty Max Scherzer and left-hander Daniel Schlereth from Arizona, lefty reliever Phil Coke and outfield prospect Austin Jackson from New York, with the Diamondbacks netting right-handers Edwin Jackson from the Tigers and Ian Kennedy from the Yankees.
My first impression of the trade is that the Yankees made out here.
Forget Coke and Kennedy, Austin Jackson was the only thing they gave up. Considered one of the top prospects in all of baseball, Jackson's ceiling at best, though, was probably what Granderson is right now. An absolute no-brainer from Brian Cashman.
His contract is also manageable, as he's due $5.5 million next year, $8.25 million in 2011, $10 million in 2012 and then $13 million or a $2 million buyout in 2013.
Granderson can play either center field or in left for the Yankees.
Granderson can play either center field or in left and his arrival also puts a little pressure on Johnny Damon, who, really, is no longer needed in the Bronx. Of course, the Yanks would love to have him back, but not at the price he and agent Scott Boras dictated to the Yanks a few weeks ago.
Now there are some concerns with Granderson. He has been in a steady decline since his record-setting season in 2007 that saw him become just the second player in big league history with at least 30 doubles, 20 triples, 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases in a single season.
His season a year ago saw him hit a career-low .249, while also belting a career-best 30 home runs. The Tigers lacked pop last year and Granderson swung for the fences, probably hurting his average and overall on-base-percentage. Whatever pop he gives the Yankee lineup is gravy. If Granderson does what he does in that lineup, he will be an All-Star every year.
As for the Tigers, kudos to general manager Dave Dombrowski, who received a starter who can step in right away in Scherzer, a potential closer in Schlereth, an outfield replacement for Granderson and a quality setup man in Coke.
Now that is how you get younger and slash payroll all in one swoosh.
Now with the Diamondbacks, I have no idea what their thinking is here. If I am J.P. Ricciardi, Kevin Towers or any other general manager out there looking for work, I'd have my resume ready to go because Arizona GM Josh Byrnes is on borrowed time.
The Diamondbacks gave up perhaps the two pitchers with the most upside in the deal in Scherzer and Schlereth for what? Edwin Jackson, a one-half wonder last season who pitched to a plus-five ERA after the All-Star break and Ian Kennedy, who after failing to make the Yankees out of spring training, missed most of the year anyway with an aneurysm under his right armpit.
If you want to tell me Edwin Jackson is an upgrade over Scherzer I might listen. I don't agree, but I could live with it. But if you think Kennedy is going to give you more than Schlereth, I have a big problem with that. Kennedy has shown nothing in his albeit limited big league career. Plus there are questions with his makeup.
Not to mention Jackson can become a free agent in two years and with Boras as his agent, he is almost certain to leave.
Now where this deal leaves the Yankees with regards to Roy Halladay, who knows? Cashman lately has preached the growth of his farm system. I have a hard time believing he is going to unload any more to get the Toronto ace.
GAMMONS LEAVING ESPN
The bigger news to come out of the meetings on Tuesday, though, was the announcement from ESPN that Hall of Famer Peter Gammons would be leaving the network, effective at the conclusion of the festivities in Indy.
Now in a release Gammons made it perfectly clear that this was not a retirement and that he will pursue new endeavors.
I would be shocked if Gammo does not re-surface on the MLB Network in the coming weeks.
* No movement on either Matt Holliday or Jason Bay. The popular belief is that if Bay does not re-sign with the Red Sox, which is becoming more and more less likely by the day, that they will go hard after Holliday.
Surprisingly, the Seattle Mariners have come calling on Bay, who went to school in the area and has a house near Seattle. The Mariners, though, are not sold on his ability to perform in left field at Safeco Field.
The M's finalized things with Chone Figgins and with possibly Bay in the mix, they think they have a terrific chance at unseating the Angels in the AL West.
* The Braves are listening on reliever Rafael Soriano, who accepted arbitration on Monday. With Billy Wagner and Takashi Saito already signed, Atlanta wants no part of having to pay Soriano. He has reportedly already given general manager Frank Wren a list of teams that had interest before the arbitration offer was extended.
* Everything is also quiet on the Halladay front. It is almost a little too quiet. If something happens in the next few days, I will have to tip my hat to Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos. We know he has been talking to some teams, but not a lick of information has been leaked. Kind of remarkable considering the age we live in.
* Speaking of the age we live in. The big winner of this year's Winter Meetings without a doubt has been Twitter. You can't find anyone without a Twitter account. That is where the news is being broken. It is also a bit of a detriment, as every single rumor on the planet is also being "tweeted".