On Saturday, broadcaster Keith Hernandez called 36-year-old Curtis Granderson frisky. For those of us who grew up watching “Happy Days,” that word has a little bit different meaning. But clearly Hernandez meant it that Granderson was feeling good, as twice when he was on base he was looking to run. He got picked off by a lefty on his first attempt and stole second on his second try.
In his last 11 games, Granderson has a .969 OPS and since May 3, he has a .267/.392/.558 line over 265 PA. His overall numbers are not that shiny because of his dreadful start. Still, anyone who’s watched him play over the last three months would assume there’s still good baseball left in his body. Many thought that the Mets would move Granderson by the non-waiver deadline. But that didn’t happen. However, news has broke that Granderson has cleared waivers and is therefore still on the block to be traded.
Meanwhile, Jay Bruce continues to put up numbers better than his career marks. His .357 wOBA is in the same general area where it’s been most of his time in the majors but it’s the second-best mark of his career, trailing just the .365 mark he put up back in 2010.
His defensive play in the outfield is a continuation of what he displayed after being traded to the Mets in 2016 – above average after the dreadful numbers he put up in Cincinnati prior to the deal. While in right field this year, Bruce has a 2.6 UZR and a +6 DRS. The numbers aren’t as good at first base – (-1.0) UZR/0 DRS – but given his paucity of innings at the position in the majors, he’s been a pleasant surprise at first.
Bruce is third in the NL in homers (29) and tied for ninth in RBIs (75). And yet, like with Granderson, no one was willing to step up and acquire Bruce at the trade deadline. Perhaps it made a tiny bit more sense with Bruce, who struggled so much after being acquired by the Mets offensively in 2016. Also, like Granderson, Bruce cleared waivers, so a July trade is still on the table.
Most deals around the time of the deadline seemed to focus on pitching. While the Mets’ big acquisitions at the end of July focused on bats the past two seasons, pitchers usually are the ones in most demand at the deadline. Still, the fact that two productive veteran outfielders drew such little interest has to be at least a touch surprising. It could be that Sandy Alderson is asking for too much in return. Or it could be a continuation of this past offseason where clubs seemingly undervalued power.
Let’s look at individual clubs in the playoff chase to see if there are any suitors that make sense to acquire an outfielder/designated hitter/first baseman. The following clubs likely had no use of their services: Red Sox, Yankees, Indians, Nationals, Cubs, Dodgers, Rockies and Diamondbacks. So, who does that leave?
Brewers – Ryan Braun has had trouble staying on the field in one of the outfield corners and Keon Broxton hasn’t exactly been setting the world on fire in center. Granderson would be a potential fit here.
Mariners – Mitch Haniger is on the DL with no timetable for a return. Speedster Jarrod Dyson has a .681 OPS in CF and Danny Valencia is virtually no one’s idea of an ideal 1B on a playoff team. Either Bruce or Granderson would fit here.
Rays – Kevin Kiermaier just had a slight setback with his fractured right hip and in his last 24 games, reality has set in for Mallex Smith, who has a .224/.289/.342 line. If Kiermaier’s injury lingers, and the Rays stay relevant, Granderson would be a fit here.
So, there are some options. And if the Cardinals can string some wins together – they’re just 4.5 games out in the NL Central, with seven games left against the Cubs and five games against the Brewers – they could use an upgrade in right field.
Bruce and Granderson have been pros all the way in their time with the Mets. But the writing is on the wall that the Mets career for at least one of them will be up before the end of the month. New York wants to clear the way for Dominic Smith and it doesn’t make sense to continue to play Bruce at first base. They’ve managed the four starting outfielders for three spots pretty well up until now. But it’s time to put an end to that rotation.