Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Granderson to New York

Two days into the general manager winter meetings in Indianapolis, the Yankees have made their first big move of the offseason.

It has been reported that New York has acquired outfielder Curtis Granderson in a three-way trade with the Detroit Tigers and the Arizona Diamondbacks.

In the deal, the Tigers will receive Yankee relief pitcher Phil Coke and top outfield prospect Austin Jackson and the young Arizona starting pitcher Max Scherzer. The Diamondbacks, in turn, will receive right hander Edwin Jackson from Detroit and once top pitching prospect Ian Kennedy from New York.

The Yankees reveive only Granderson.

From a Yankee fan point of view, I believe this is a good move. While it is tough to see Austin Jackson go (a player I was very excited to see in Major League action), Granderson is an exceptional player, and more importantly, a professional.

While he had a subpar season in 2009 (.249/.327/.453) he is a career .272 hitter who averages about 20 home runs and 17 stolen bases a year.

Arizona, who received two major league starting pitchers in the deal, will probably place Jackson and Kennedy in the three and four spots of the Diamondback rotation, behind Brandon Webb and Dan Haren.

The move should make Arizona's rotation one of the best in the majors.

And finally, Detroit, who made it clear at the beginning of the offseason that they would be looking to cut payroll this winter (though it will still remain well above $100 million), receive several above average, major league-ready players who will cost a fraction of the price of one Curtis Anderson.

Other news out of Indy: The Seattle Mariners have officially signed free agent Chone Figgins.

It has not yet been determined where Figgins will play, as the 31-year-old is very versitile in the field. However, he is expected to bat in the number two spot of the lineup, behind right fielder Ichiro Suzuki.

The deal is officially worth $36 million over four years.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Phils Take Care of the Hot Corner, Atlanta Solidifies the Pen

The Phillies have taken care of the hole left at third base by Pedro Feliz after the team declined to pick up his option for 2010.

Philadelphia signed Placido Polanco, who played second base for the Detroit Tigers over the past four plus seasons, to an $18 million, three year contract earlier today. It is his second tenure with Philly (Polanco played for the Phillies from 2002 into 2005).

Polanco, who turned 34 in October, will be an upgrade from Feliz, who hit a combined .258 over his two seasons with the Phils.

A .303 career hitter, Polanco hit .285 with a .331 on-base percentage for Detroit in 2009.

He can be very versatile in terms of his placement in the lineup, as well.

With the Phillie lead-off hitter Jimmy Rollins having a subpar year in 2009, Polanco could take that spot in the lineup, or the second slot as well, which would move centerfielder Shane Victorino down in the lineup.

Placing Polanco eighth in the lineup could also prove to be advantageous. It is always nice to have a runner on base before the pitcher comes to the plate so that the pitcher may lay down a sacrifice bunt. The third baseman's high batting average could certainly help this strategy.

Meanwhile, the Braves have done an excellent job putting together a very solid back-end of the bullpen.

Atlanta, who signed Billy Wagner to a 1-year, $7 million contract yesterday to close for them in 2009, landed setup man Takashi Saito today. The righty pitched to a 2.43 ERA in 55.2 innings pitched with the Red Sox last year.

With the bullpen now solidified, Atlanta can begin to focus on what is really their pressing issue: offense.