Who can still hit, play some defense and is beloved in the clubhouse? The Grandy Man, Curtis Granderson. Which is why the New York Mets need to re-sign him after the season.
Nobody wanted to see a 36-year-old Curtis Granderson roaming center field on Opening Day, much less now that the Mets have waved the white flag on 2017.
But now that Bruce has been traded to the Cleveland Indians, the Mets have a chance to deploy a more conventional outfield configuration in 2018. Assuming they can uncover a viable center fielder in the offseason, that is.
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Granderson isn’t that player—but that doesn’t mean he should be cast away in 2018. He’d be a weapon off the bench and as a fourth outfielder.
In the last year of his contract, Grandy is having one of his most productive seasons as a Met yet. His 2015 campaign is regarded as his best statistical year in blue and orange when he smacked 26 home runs and drove in 70 runs.
Yet, halfway through August, Granderson has hit 18 home runs and driven in 48 runs in roughly 300 fewer plate appearances. He’s posted his best slugging percentage (.479) since 2012 (.492), and both his walk rate and OPS are nearly identical to his 2015 numbers.
And with a BABIP (batting average on balls in play) of .256, nearly 40 points below his career average, it is safe to say Grandy has been unlucky so far this season. But even with that lack of luck, he’s been one of MLB’s most productive hitters.
Curtis Granderson has a 147 wRC+ dating back to May 1. Higher than McCutchen, Bryant, Harper, Freeman, Murphy, and Seager among others.
— D.J. Short (@djshort) August 14, 2017
Who wouldn’t want a player that thrives against right-handed pitching (.848 OPS in 98 games)? Or someone with a .810 OPS in high-leverage situations? Or a .929 OPS as a pinch hitter? What about someone with a .825 OPS with runners in scoring position?
And although his arm is lacking, he is still a strong enough defender to warrant occasional time in the outfield. Let’s not forget about his impact in the clubhouse, either.
Granderson just brings too much to the table to not bring him back, assuming he still wants to play. He hinted at retirement in mid-July, telling the New York Post‘s Howie Kussoy that “the situation has to be right” for him to continue as an active player.
No team is going to offer him a starting job. But he’s familiar with New York, the organization, and the clubhouse. That could be all Granderson needs to hold off retirement for another year.
The Mets would be lucky to have him back. Re-signing him should be one of the team’s secondary priorities once the season comes to an end.