With the addition of Curtis Granderson, the Blue Jays have an underrated duo to work in left field, and it should work better than many people expect.
When the Blue Jays signed Curtis Granderson to a one year deal worth five million last week, the fan base was somewhat underwhelmed at the idea of bringing in a 37 year old outfielder. The mantra we’ve heard over the last couple of years is that the front office wanted to make the roster younger, faster, and more versatile…. so why Granderson?
There are a few answers to that question, of course. One of the main reasons was payroll flexibility, as it cost the Blue Jays just five million to bring in the power hitting veteran, who they are more than familiar with from his time with the New York Yankees in the AL East. By spending just five million on Granderson, it theoretically allows the front office to use remaining funds to upgrade in other areas. Add the fact that it’s just a one year commitment, and the risk is very low.
That said, this isn’t just about a bargain for the Blue Jays, as Granderson should fit on the roster better than many baseball fans may expect. The key will be how he is used, and as long as the Blue Jays plan to employ him in a platoon situation it should work well, especially with a serviceable platoon partner on the roster in Steve Pearce.
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In fact, let’s have a look at how the two of them fared when they were in a platoon advantage at the plate:
Granderson against RH pitching:
.214/.337/.470, 21 home runs, 50 RBI, in 345 at bats
Pearce against LF pitching:
.207/.293/.437, 5 home runs, 8 RBI, in 87 at bats
Yeah I know, that doesn’t look that great. For whatever reason, Pearce actually hit worse against left handed pitching in 2017, but to be fair he was also battling injuries throughout the season. For the sake of argument, let’s have a look at his numbers against lefties in 2016 as well.
Pearce in 2016: .309/.411/.617, 7 home runs, 18 RBI, in 81 at bats.
There, that looks a lot better, doesn’t it?
If we combine the 426 at bats for the duo, we’re looking at power numbers of 28 home runs and 68 RBI, and that’s not a full season of plate appearances either. Granted, they’re both another year older, Pearce will need to find his regular form against lefties, and Granderson will have to prove that last summer wasn’t a trend (he hit below the Mendoza line after July), but the potential for a solid platoon is definitely there, at least on offence.
For a combined cost of 11.25 million (before Granderson hits any incentives), the Blue Jays may have found a way to upgrade left field in the short term without committing significant dollars, or years to a veteran contract. We can complain that the Blue Jays are still relying on aging veterans, but in this case it should be a serviceable upgrade, again, provided Granderson (and Pearce) are employed properly.
It would be great to see the Blue Jays continue to pursue outfield upgrades for right field as well, but as far as left field is concerned, it should be a serviceable partnership between the two veterans, and one that could surprise the fan base with their collective production.