Curtis Granderson was the big-ticket signing of Sandy Alderson’ 2014 off-season – the puzzling contract of Chris Young notwithstanding. Given the Wilpons’ recent track record and Alderson’s stated preference to avoid giving out contracts longer than three years, Granderson’s four-year, $60 million contract came as more than a mild surprise. He then roiled the waters further during his introductory press conference, when he said “real New Yorkers are Mets fans.” The fact that his last contract was with the Yankees made this statement…interesting. We expected immediate fireworks.
It didn’t happen that way, of course. Granderson got off to a miserable start, finishing April batting .136, with an OPS of .468. Cue the “Jason Bay, Part II” wails from the fans, whose patience by this point had been stretched thinner than Jabba the Hut’s BVDs. Just as he was being written off as another in a long line of organizational busts, he turned the proverbial corner. Starting with a 1-for-5 – the one was an RBI double — performance during a heartbreaking loss to the Phillies on May 9, Granderson has lifted his slash lines to a respectable .242/.361/.418, good for an OPS of .779 and an OPS+ of 123. His real coming out party, of course came in his old stomping grounds, Yankee Stadium a couple of days later. In two games there, he produced a familiar cannonading of the right field fence – his career year of 2011 was built on that very foundation – going 4-for-8 with two homers and five RBI during the Mets’ unlikely mini-sweep. A couple of days after that, he began his still-running streak of reaching base – either via base hit or walk — in 34 straight starts.
If you look, the Curtis Granderson from May 9 on certainly appears to be the “real” Curtis Granderson. Baseball-Reference.com’s invaluable 162 game average line tells us that his 2014 slash line will probably end up nearly a dead-on match for his career: .260/.341/.484. This looks to be a far cry from the Bay/Carlos Baerga/Roberto Alomar model of superstar inefficiency so beloved of the pessimistic wing of Met fandom and the eager-to-pounce media, doesn’t it?
The Granderson signing has always struck your intrepid columnist as analogous to the signing of Cliff Floyd prior to the 2003 season. Was he the guy to lead them to the promised land immediately? Of course not, but he was the guy who would still be a key piece when they arrived. Same with Granderson: he should still be roaming right field at Citi when the team delivers on its promise in
2015, 2016, or whenever those pesky goal posts stop moving.
For all the moaning at the beginning, we fans are damned lucky to have him here.
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