The Blue Jays signed Curtis Granderson on Monday to join their outfield picture. While he could help, his addition isn’t that significant on it’s own, and only really works well as a piece of an upgrade puzzle.
While there is a section of the Blue Jays’ fan base that is thinking, “finally, they signed someone!”, there is an equal or bigger group that’s thinking, “Really?!? Curtis Granderson??”.
A few years ago it may have been the blockbuster that fans were waiting for, but at 36 years old (he’ll be 37 before Opening Day), the former New York Yankee isn’t the player he once was. He’s still serviceable to be sure, evidenced by the 26 home runs and 64 RBI he posted last year between the New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers, but he’s lost a step or two, and can’t hit lefties much at all anymore.
Which is why Granderson works as an upgrade to the thin outfield picture in Toronto, but it’s really only a positive move if he’s part of a bigger picture. Let’s say for example that Granderson’s signing is intended as a platoon partner for Steve Pearce. While they’re not the scariest duo, they’re likely serviceable as a pair and each will be a free agent at season’s end.
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However, the right field picture is a little different, and it doesn’t appear that Granderson will be the answer there on an every day basis. It’s possible he could do some platoon work with Teoscar Hernandez as well, but it’s far more likely he spends the majority of his time in left field, where his weaker arm play much better these days. That leaves the Blue Jays with Ezequiel Carrera and Hernandez as the primary candidates for right field reps, unless of course they bring in another outfielder.
With an uncertain picture in their starting rotation, it’s likely the Blue Jays will use some or all of their remaining funds to address the pitching staff and maybe the back-up catching position, but I’d argue that they should look at adding another piece to the outfield picture. Hernandez would be fine if he started the season in Triple A, and Carrera has always been more of a fourth or fifth outfielder anyway.
Perhaps they look at a lower cost upgrade for right field as well like a Jarrod Dyson, or maybe a Carlos Gonzalez or Carlos Gomez if their markets fall far enough. As spring training draws closer there are still plenty of veterans looking for their next contract, so a bargain seems more likely every day. Still, counting on that or Teoscar Hernandez as the full time solution feels presumptuous, and I hope Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro feel the same.
There is still plenty of time before the roster will take it’s final shape, so I’ll do my best to reserve judgement until then. That said, I do believe one thing is for sure, that Curtis Granderson as an outfield upgrade on his own, won’t be enough to move the needle for the Blue Jays. With all due respect to the three time All-Star, they’ll need a little more help than that.