Hey! This actually seems maybe not too bad here. The Toronto Blue Jays, have signed Curtis Granderson!
Free-agent outfielder Curtis Granderson in agreement with #BlueJays on one-year, $5M contract, sources tell The Athletic. Deal also includes incentives and is pending a physical.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 16, 2018
Fans hoping for a bigger splash — and pretending that there can’t possibly still be one in order to justify throwing a tantrum — might disagree, but I think Ross Atkins just may have threaded the needle quite nicely here. Was Granderson good after a late season move to the Dodgers? Uh… no. But that was just 136 plate appearances, and the reality is he’s actually is a fun addition, a guy with name recognition, a guy who still walks a ton, hits from the left side, hits home runs (over 25 in each of the last three years), and is a good base runner (even if he’s not a stolen base threat). He doesn’t do those things in such abundance that he’s an All-Star calibre player anymore, and it’s certainly not a slam dunk that he’s even going to be a good player. But this is close to a nothing contract, so it means the Jays have resources to continue improving. And even his modest 2017 numbers are actually an impressive upgrade on what the Jays had before: Granderson’s 2.1 fWAR is 2.6 wins better than José Bautista’s -0.5 mark, and his 1.5 rWAR was 3.2 wins better than poor José’s -1.7.
Do we expect Granderson to be just as good next season? No. But I think the move from centre to a corner spot could go better than people looking at his overall defensive numbers will think. His DRS marks in right over the last three season have gone +12, +3, +6, in seasons of 1275, 905, and 275 innings, whereas he’s been below water in two of the last three seasons in left and centre. He’s graded out nicely in right by UZR, too, with years of +5.7 and +5.1 bookending a -2.1 year. That could do. Granted, he’s not got the arm for right field, but those numbers at least suggest that he can hack it in a corner spot (the sample of his play in left field is quite small — just over 300 innings over three years).
The other thing is, he’s basically a platoon guy at this point, so — for fuck sakes — there’s no need to act like he’s being brought here to be the solution to every single outfield problem that the Jays have. That said, he’s strong against right-handed pitching still. His wRC+ against right-handers last season was 114. It was 121 the year before. And it was 150 the year before that. The skills are eroding, but they appear to still be there. The only Blue Jays regulars who were better in that split in 2017 were Josh Donaldson, Justin Smoak, and Ezequiel Carrera.
In other words, he will help. Or he should help. And if he doesn’t, the minimal contract means he’s not going to be an impediment to Teoscar or Alford or Pompey or whoever else might emerge (Gurriel? Solarte? Travis?) from taking hold of an outfield spot.
And again, adding Granderson also doesn’t mean that they’re done making moves or that they now believe the outfield is necessarily in perfect shape. “The club is believed to still be looking to [add] another outfielder,” reports Shi Davidi at Sportsnet.
And yet you’ll still find sour-ass dipshits so incapable of understanding this that they can barely get the words “BUT HEEZ OWLLLLD” out of their lemon-sucking piss-mouths. I don’t even know where to begin with these dim fuckers (and don’t even get me started on the batting average and RBI crowd). The Jays are getting better in increments. They may not be getting younger, but they are creating a path to ultimately get younger. They are raising the floor of talent available to them as much as they can while doing as little as they can to take away from the club’s future. And if you haven’t figured out yet that there’s only so much they’re going to be able to do this winter, and after that it’s all hoping on a return to health, better contingencies, and a strong season from the rotation, what in the hell do you even have an opinion on this team for? Why are you cluelessly shouting in peoples’ Twitter feeds acting like the front office has betrayed you any time they make a move that feels it takes the club farther from The Magical Move To Make Everything Perfect that was and will always be just a pipe dream?
Consider, perhaps, that the reason you can’t understand how this roster is supposed to be any good isn’t that the roster isn’t good but your inability or unwillingness see it. (Then suck it the fuck up, change your diaper, and for fuck sakes let yourself be happy you get to root for a guy as fun and likable as Granderson for a season of your life.)
Like, come on:
Don’t get me wrong, the roster might not end up being good. It might not work. Nobody is trying to trick you into thinking Granderson is anything more than what he is. He is a player with clear flaws and that is clearly declining. But he’s also a player who fits very nicely on a team with limited resources to spread around that certainly could use a genuine big league lefty bat with pop that can also help improve the outfield. He’s a player that helps guys like Hernández, Pompey, and Alford by allowing them more development time while giving them a clear path to hit their way onto the club, and providing them with a hell of a professional to work with when they do make it to the big leagues. He gives them one of their best options against right-handed pitching (and NEWSFLASH: 74% of plate appearances league-wide in 2017 were against right-handers). And he does it for such little money — less money than the kind of money some people thought they should have paid Tom Koehler — that it really won’t stop them from doing anything else.
Like with Solarte and Diaz, the Jays have added a piece that addresses their singular biggest problem in 2017: inadequate big league calibre depth. Oh, he takes a roster spot? Because they can’t option Diaz? There’s no way they could find their way out from under Carrera or Pearce (or Pillar) to add a bigger outfield piece? Seriously?
It’s not difficult to see why the Blue Jays would do this. It’s not difficult to see how he might bust and quickly make way for a youngster, but it’s also not difficult to see how he might end up a useful piece on a team that ends up better than you think. Better enough to be contenders? I don’t know. But Jesus, the fucking Twins think they’re contenders. Relax and let’s see how it goes. And if it doesn’t go well? Trade what you need to trade in July and go from there feeling good that the team hasn’t burdened itself with huge commitments to older free agents onto the books or spent a bunch of prospects for nothing. That’s not a bad place to be. To have a chance to be good, but if not to still have plenty of solid roster pieces for 2019, a bunch of money coming off the books, and a chance to make some trades to add to the prospect pool in July?
Yep, that’s pretty alright. Deep breaths.