Tuesday night’s game really got me thinking about the future of Curtis Granderson. He played exactly how I would like to see him play moving forward. He had three hits, all of which were singles and also stole a base.
The amount of pressure on Granderson’s shoulders goes beyond the $60 million dollar contract he signed with the Mets this offseason – the offseason fans had been anticipating for years. It was the Winter the Mets would finally cleared enough cap room thanks to expiring contracts from Jason Bay and Johan Santana among others.
The Mets were a team desperate for a power hitter to protect David Wright, and Granderson seemed the answer to GM Sandy Alderson. Grandy’s two 40+ homerun seasons for the Yankees and one lost season due to injury set him up for a nice payday and the Mets made him their centerpiece of the offseason.
I believe that Granderson’s success on the Mets hinges not on his ability to try and duplicate a similar level of production he had with Yankees, but instead produce as he did with the Detroit Tigers earlier in his career.
Anyone who thinks Granderson is going to hit 30, let alone 40 homeruns while playing half of his games at Citi Field is not thinking this through. Granderson’s career line on the Tigers was .272/.344/.484 compared to his .245/.335/.495 clip on the Yankees. He averaged around 22 homeruns per season with the Tigers as opposed to his 40+ with the Yankees. However, he also hit for a higher batting average and used his speed to generate 25-35 doubles, 10-12 triples, and 15-20 stolen bases per season. He was a catalyst.
I believe that the Mets need to move Granderson out of the four-hole in the lineup and stop putting any added pressure on him to pull everything and hit home runs. It works against his offensive aptitude and doesn’t allow him to better utilize the potential that Citi Field can afford him. The wide gaps and characteristics of Citi Field seem perfectly suited for the type of player Granderson once was in Detroit; spraying doubles and triples, utilizing his above average speed, hitting for a higher average, and still clubbing 20 homeruns.
Lucas Duda, whether he is the future for the Mets or not, is a projected power hitter. While he is on the team and playing everyday, he should be batting fourth. He leads the team in home runs anyway, and I wouldn’t mind moving Granderson to the six-hole for a while until he can straighten out his swing and revert back to his pre-Yankees form.
Granderson is here for the long-term and it might be best for all parties involved if Granderson embraced his former self and stop thinking of himself as the 40-home run hitter he once was and the Mets thought they were getting.
Of course, the Mets still need to add another bat in their lineup, whether it be a corner outfielder, shortstop, or first basemen. But for now, batting Duda fourth and moving Granderson down the lineup can be a positive for Curtis’ long-term production.