What Does the Granderson Deal Mean for Johnny Damon?

The conventional wisdom on the big massive Carlos Curtis (sorry!) Granderson/Edwin Jackson/Phil Coke trade the Yankees, Tigers, and Diamondbacks made yesterday is that the Yanks made out like bandits, the Tigers did all right but will miss the popular Granderson, and no one has the foggiest idea what the D-Backs are trying to pull. (One Arizona blog is actually dreading spring training now.) The real question around these parts, though, is whether the Yankees are better now than they were at the end of the season. So far, they’re not.

Granderson fits in nicely in center field, but center field was already filled, by Melky Cabrera. The Granderson deal is mostly a hedge, a way to cover their flank in case they’re unable to come to terms with Damon. The idea is that Cabrera could move to left field, thus essentially replacing Damon with Granderson. We are far from certain this is forward movement: As Bill Madden points out, even though Granderson is a better defensive player (and Cabrera would be an upgrade in left as well), he isn’t the on-base machine Damon is and probably couldn’t be trusted to bat second, considering his high strikeout totals.

But the ideal situation here is to still sign Damon. (Well, we think the ideal situation is signing Matt Holliday, but the Yankees have shown no signs they have any intention of doing that.) Damon, all season, had practically begged the Yankees to re-sign this year, but after his excellent postseason, good ol’ Scott Boras implanted himself in Damon’s ear. (Boras is good at this despite not being taller than most agents.) Suddenly, Damon is showing signs that he wants a bigger deal than the Yankees are willing to give. The Granderson trade is both the Yankees clearing themselves some elbow room and a quiet sign that they’re willing to move on, if Damon remains stubborn about this.

We bet he won’t, though. We’re guessing you see both Damon and Granderson in that lineup next season.

What Does the Granderson Deal Mean for Johnny Damon?