Free Agent Forecast: Curtis Granderson
Originally from the Chicago area, Curtis Granderson has felt very much at home in Yankee Stadium for the past three years. With the short porch in right, Granderson hit 40+ home runs in both 2011 and 2012. In 2013, Granderson was hampered by injury (he was hit by two pitches and subsequently broke two bones) and was only able to play in 61 games. Granderson has always had upside. Although not a great fielder, he can cover the ground and make the easy catches. And with the power numbers he has put up, he can also steal some bases. His biggest problem is, and always has been, his strikeouts. He struck out 195 times in 2012. One of Granderson's biggest pros is his personality. He's known as a great guy in the clubhouse and with the press and fans.
Granderson -- along with every other free agent outfielder -- will benefit from Hunter Pence's MASSIVE extension with the Giants (five-years, $90 million). While Granderson has said he would prefer to stay with the Yankees, the qualifying offer may be as far as the Yanks go with him. On the open market, I could see Granderson getting somewhere close to what Nick Swisher got from the Indians (four-years, $56 million), but I'm not sure the Yankees can afford that with their current payroll situation. The White Sox have been said to be very interested in Granderson, which would make sense with the Chicago connection and also give the White Sox a quality outfielder. He could easily end up on another team besides the Yankees and White Sox because there are a lot of teams in the market for outfielders. He'll be competing with Carlos Beltran and Shin-Soo Choo.
Between his on-the-field upside and his off-the-field personality, I think a team other than the Yankees will reward the 32-year old outfielder handsomely. And since Pence got such a big extension, I think Granderson and his agent Matt Brown will aim high. I'm not sure who will give it to him, but I see the Grandy-man getting a three-year, $50 million contract.