We're still in the early stages of the MLB playoffs, so nothing on the offseason hot stove has heated up too much. But the first White Sox rumor of many surfaced earlier this week, involving New York Yankee outfielder and Chicago native, Curtis Granderson.
Granderson will turn 33 during spring training, so he's not a super long-term answer to the offensive problems on the south side. But considering what would have to be paid for a superstar in or going into their prime, acquiring someone like Granderson is a more realistic move we can expect White Sox GM Rick Hahn to make this offseason.
Being as decorated as a ball player as Granderson is, he'd certainly create a great buzz. He's media-friendly, always has a big smile on his face, and again, is a hometown kid. He attended UIC, which is very close to U.S. Cellular Field. And most importantly, he'd be a great lefty bat that you could presumably slot right between Avi Garcia and Dayan Viciedo, which would be great for their development (who knows if Adam Dunn can be that guy next year).
So before you look at the numbers, Granderson certainly checks out. He'd be great for White Sox PR and fans, but does he check out as the right fit as a ball player? To the numbers we go (via ESPN.com) …
As you can see, Granderson is most certainly productive. Over his entire career, he's clubbed an extra-base hit in about 12% of hit at bats. And in 2011 & 2012 with the Yankees, his power increased drastically, hitting 84 home runs over the two-year period. Sure, a lot of those were due to Yankee Stadium's short porch in right field and wind tunnel helping balls fly out, but nonetheless, it's impressive.
But the obvious problem sticks out. Like many hitters on the White Sox and sprinkled throughout the organization, Granderson is not the best at getting on base or avoiding the strikeouts. In 2007, 2008, and 2011, Granderson's OBP was between .361 and 365. But throughout the rest of his career, he's been between .317 (2013) and .335 (2006).
Curtis is on the back nine of his career, that's for sure, and it doesn't seem at 33 he'll suddenly become a different kind of hitter. In a realistic, yet still 'great case' scenario, you could get 30-35 home runs, 20 doubles, a .235 average and a .325 on-base percentage.
Obviously, this looks like another Adam Dunn trap. Like we said, those numbers would be if things went very well with Granderson, so it'd be tough to fully expect those numbers for the next three or four years.
A couple weeks back, the San Francisco Giants signed outfielder Hunter Pence to a five-year, $90M contract extension. A Granderson signing would have to be something similar to that, though not quite as high since Pence is a few years younger. Will we really be glad to be paying a 35 or 36 year-old Granderson $15M+? I'd say no.
We at GSB! do have opinions on big-name 2014 free agents we'd like to see in a White Sox uniform, though, so make sure to stay tuned for more on the topic.