The New York Yankees took the first steps toward compiling their 2013 roster this afternoon with the announcement that the club has chosen to exercise contract options on both second baseman Robinson Cano and center fielder Curtis Granderson. Additionally, the club picked up the 2013 option on reliever David Aardsma.
Cano’s option, worth $15 million, was a no-brainer. Despite a post-season that saw him suffer through an 0-for-29 stretch, a record for playoff futility, Cano is one of the elite players in all of baseball and easily the best the Yankees have to offer. Exercising this option is simply the first step toward what the Yankees hope will be a long-term contract extension.
The option for Granderson wasn’t viewed as an easy a decision as Cano’s deal, but in the end, the Yankees picked up that deal as well, also worth $15 million. Granderson clubbed 43 homers in 2013, but otherwise saw most of the rest of his offensive and defensive statistics trend backward once again. After a stellar 2011 season, his second in the Bronx, Granderson saw his average drop by 30 points, his OBP fall by 45 points, and his slugging percentage drop by an alarming 60 points, despite an uptick in home runs.
Defensively, Granderson has a much better reputation with the glove than the number actually show. According to UZR, Granderson has been rated as below average in 2011 and significantly below average in 2012. In fact, at -17.8 UZR, Granderson was easily the lowest rated defensive centerfielder in all of baseball in 2012, which is something the Bombers should probably take into consideration going forward. Flip-flopping Granderson and left fielder Brett Gardner would probably be beneficial to the ball club, if not simply DHing Granderson whenever possible.
The hard truth is that in 2012, Granderson’s overall play was not unlike that of Adam Dunn. There were a lot of strikeouts, a ton of home runs, and very little of anything else. At least Dunn adds a good amount of walks.
With the decision made on Granderson, the door could be quickly closing on Nick Swisher‘s possible return to the Bronx. Both he and Ichiro Suzuki are set to hit free agency and only one is likely to be back in pinstripes next year. the smart money is on Suzuki to return, as the Yankees could get him on a much shorter deal and likely one less costly than what they would get with Swisher.