When the New York Yankees acquired Curtis Granderson after the 2009 season, experts were doubting if the move would work out for both sides. It didn’t take long to find out that Granderson is indeed the real deal, as he’s made himself into one of the best centerfielders in baseball.
Since arriving from the Detroit Tigers, the left-handed hitting Granderson has improved his all-around game to the point of finding a home hitting second in the lineup behind Derek Jeter. Granderson struggled hitting against left-handed pitching in Detroit and throughout most of his first year with the Yankees. However, he took initiative by going to team hitting coach Kevin Long and retooling his swing.
The hard work paid off as Granderson’s offensive numbers began to take off. His home runs jumped from 24 in 2010 to 41 in 2011. The power surge has continued into 2012 for Granderson as he currently leads the team in home runs with 15, which is helping balance out a lineup that has endured the struggles of Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira.
Granderson is currently hitting .261 is on pace to hit 50 home runs this season. It remains to be seen if he can pull off the feat, however he clearly has become a key component in the power attack of the Yankees. He’s also proven to be durable as the Yankees have needed him to start every game this season with outfielder Brett Gardner on the disabled list.
It’s evident from watching the Yankees daily that Granderson is well respected by his teammates. He carries himself well both on and off the field and just seems to fit in naturally with what is sometimes labeled as “The Yankee Way”. It’s becoming reminiscent of when Bernie Williams was patrolling center field during the Yankees’ championship run of the late 90’s. Granderson is well-mannered and respectful, however he swings a big stick and plays the game hard at all times.
Granderson isn’t Bernie Williams by any means. However, he’s clearly made a case as to why the Yankees may have to start showing him the money. He’s on the back end of a five-year deal he signed with the Tigers back in 2008 and which has a club option for 2013. The Yankees could go the club option route and possibly buy themselves some more time before attempting to secure Granderson to a long-term contract. Based on the production Granderson is giving the Yankees, it’s a dilemma that is well worth having.