The Dodgers, fresh off their 8-5 win on Friday night in Detroit, aren’t quite done adding to an already MLB-best roster.
BREAKING: The Mets have a deal in place to send Curtis Granderson to the Dodgers. Not official yet.
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) August 19, 2017
Curtis Granderson, 36, is on his way to LA (along with some cash money). The return isn’t yet known (player to be named later and/or cash), but seeing as it’s a waiver trade deal, the Mets probably won’t get a ton of value in return — some low-level lottery tickets not anywhere near the majors.
This seems like a gratuitous acquisition for the Dodgers, but there’s some sense behind it. First, no other contending team gets a guy who has been pretty good in his postseason career (.239/.339/.457), including a .389/.476/.500 triple slash in the 2015 National League Division Series. He would have been a nice fit in Washington with Bryce Harper on the shelf and Jayson Werth‘s status unknown. But this is more because of the Dodgers trying to plug a hole.
Joc Pederson has been struggling at the plate for the better part of six weeks. Heading into the postseason, and considering his constant tinkering, they might be comfortable letting him be the primary guy against righties in October. That’s not to say Granderson is going to play center field (he won’t), but Pederson could see the biggest reduction in playing time after this move. Hell, he might be the one optioned to Oklahoma City because of this (if not him, maybe a bullpen pitcher or Enrique Hernandez).
This also says something about the Dodgers’ confidence in Adrian Gonzalez and Andre Ethier returning and being effective. Gonzalez is officially back while Ethier should be back after rosters expand, but Ethier hasn’t played since March and is a year older and another year removed from any regular playing time. To expect him to come back and be anything close to his former self might be expecting too much. Acquiring Granderson protects against Pederson not being able to work out of his slump and against Gonzalez/Ethier being ineffective.
This is a little curious because Gonzalez just came back. Cody Bellinger was going to move to the outfield when Gonzalez started (as he did on Friday), but with Granderson around, he’ll need to also play outfield. Perhaps this means Bellinger gets his first look in center field (against righties while playing first base against lefties). It might also mean Chris Taylor will see some more time in the infield — specifically second base. With Logan Forsythe struggling and Chase Utley not the Utley of old, playing Taylor full-time there (or at least almost full-time) might be for the best. This could be a potential lineup for the Dodgers against righties:
Chris Taylor 2B
Corey Seager SS
Justin Turner 3B
Cody Bellinger CF
Curtis Granderson LF
Yasmani Grandal C
Adrian Gonzalez 1B
Yasiel Puig RF
That’s not too shabby. Taylor could also spell Seager at short (like tonight) and Turner at third base once a week. There are a myriad of options for the Dodgers to play with here.
Granderson has a 124 wRC+ against righties and just an 83 wRC+ against lefties, so don’t expect to see him too much against southpaws.
Some nerd named Mike Petriello wrote about Granderson’s value just this week.
“Here’s the thing, though. Granderson didn’t just bounce back from a bad start. Since May 1, he’s basically been the exact same hitter as Conforto, with a fraction of the attention.
Since May 1
Conforto: .274/.387/.552, .393 wOBA
Granderson: .266/.384/.570, .396 wOBA
That’s a nearly indistinguishable batting line over nearly four months, and while we’re not saying Granderson is as valuable as Conforto — he’s 12 years older and not as strong a defender — he’s spent his summer performing exactly like one of baseball’s young breakout stars.”
Since May 1, Granderson has been quite good. His acquisition can only be a good thing.
There is literally no downside to this deal. Granderson is a 2-plus month rental for a team that has the best shot of winning the World Series. You make this trade every day without question.
Worried about chemistry? Don’t be. Granderson is one of the best clubhouse players in the sport. He has drawn nothing but praise as a leader and a teammate. His inclusion into the clubhouse will only make things stronger and better.