(Courtesy of Getty Images)
(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)
If you're the type to put weight in early October hot stove rumors, it appears there's already another potential suitor for Curtis Granderson this offseason. A Chicago Sun-Times report this past weekend painted the White Sox as an interested party, citing the always anonymous source who said they were expected to make "a hard push" for Granderson. Like the Yankees, the White Sox were a hot offensive mess this season. They could use Granderson's power, local ties, and personality to help inject some life into their franchise and put a few more butts in the stadium seats.
The Yankees were expected to make C-Grand a qualifying offer once the offseason started, although their true motivations for doing so are a bit of an unknown. After seeing what Ichiro and Vernon Wells were still capable of in full-time outfield roles (nothing), the Yanks could certainly use Granderson in one of the corners and in the middle of the lineup next year. With the criticism of their inability to develop any impact talent through the farm system getting louder and the front office acknowledging that changes need to be made, another 1st round draft pick would be nice to add to the MiL rebuilding effort. Oh yeah, there's also that pesky little "goal not a mandate" payroll crunch in play.
That qualifying offer will be for about $14 million, not unfair market value for a 32-year-old outfielder going on 33 and coming off a down year. But Granderson has some good years under his belt, and if the White Sox rumor has any hint of legitimacy to it then it's reasonable to expect other teams to be interested in his services as well. Assuming the Yankees will extend that qualifying offer and that Granderson will decline to test the open market, what kind of deal can he expect? He made $15 million last year, $10 mil in 2012, and in his 4 years in New York he's made a total of $38.75 million.
According to FanGraphs' WAR dollar value calculator, Curtis has been worth $60.8 million in his 4 years in pinstripes, a shade over $15 million AAV and right in line with his 2013 salary. Using that as a jumping off point, it's fair to expect any multi-year offer to at least match that figure. The years will be the critical factor and I would expect most teams aren't going to be willing to go more than 3. As a high strikeout guy already, Curtis is right on the ragged age edge of starting to lose bat speed, at which point his power should start to slip. A 3-year deal puts him at age 35, an age where he could and should still be productive but gives teams an option to cut bait before the decline really starts to hasten.
If the White Sox are serious about making a hard push for C-Grand, a slight raise from the boiler plate 3-year/$45 mil will be in order. Maybe 3 years/$48 mil or 3 years/$51 mil gets it done. If the market heats up with more teams involved, a 4th year could be the deciding factor. 4 years and $60-64 million isn't a bad deal for a player entering his mid-30s, and it's a fair step up from the contract Nick Swisher signed last offseason. Either way, that's a price the Yankees will most likely not be willing to pay. Perhaps they surprise us and make Curtis a 3-year offer of their own to stay, but with the rotation in the shape it's in for next season and the luxury tax threshold to consider I wouldn't count on it.