UPDATE: It’s official. A five year deal with a club option for 2013. The Tigers buyout his arbitration years and first year of free agency. ESPN reports that the contract is for $30.25 million. Not sure on the option at this point. It’s a great deal for the Tigers. Again, more to come later.
Notes from the conference call
- Dombrowski is thrilled and said it “is a great day for the Tigers organization.”
- Granderson is excited to be a part of this (the team, the city) for a long time to come.
- Granderson’s agent Matt Brown said that it was great dealing with John Westhoff and Dave Dombrowski. He also thanked Mike Ilitch for the confidence that he showed.
- Granderson is excited and appreciative that it got done now, knowing that the Tigers didn’t have to make a move like this at this time (not being arb or FA eligible)
- On the length of the contract and possibly foregoing bigger dollars, Granderson recognized that he got some security and that he doesn’t know what could happen over the next 5 years. Brown followed up and noted that in these types of situations the club is assuming all the risk, but that it’s a win for both sides because he’s at the top of the heap for pre-arbitration players.
- Dombrowski said his willingness to do a long term deal was due to how good Granderson is. Plus, not being a pitcher Granderson doesn’t present as big of an injury risk. The skill and the make-up of Granderson along with his willingness to stay are what made it possible.
- Granderson views the Tigers as a second family. Everything since he signed with the organization has been positive.
- Curtis said his areas for improvement were hitting left handers more consistently, continuing to cut down and strike outs, and improving in the outfield. He’s sure he’ll have more things to focus on in 2009 and will learn by watching the veterans on the team.
- Granderson’s plans for the evening are to pack to head down to spring training.
- Dombrowski said the trades of Gorkys Hernandez and Cameron Maybin didn’t factor into the decision to lock up Curtis.
- Granderson’ celebratory meal was a McDonald’s extra value meal plus a double cheeseburger off the dollar menu.
There’s not much to analyze except to say “Yay!” Granderson on the open market is a $100 million player. Of course Granderson didn’t get “taken” on this deal because he isn’t eligible for the free agent market. The only leverage that Granderson has at this point is to say no to a long term contract. And being faced with $30 million or $500,000ish, it’s easy to see why he’d take the money and the security. Not to mention he is sticking with an organization that he likes, and figures to be a contender for a good chunk of his contract.
From the Tigers stand point, they take on the risk at this point. If Granderson’s career takes an unfortunate ending due to injury the Tigers are left holding the bag. In their favor though is the fact that even if Granderson is average they’ll still come out ahead. And when factoring in his defense (not to mention his work ethic and all his other qualities), he stands to be easily better than average. While being better than 2007 will be difficult (though not at all impossible), his future is still bright.
His projections for this year (Bill James, Marcel, Chone, PECOTA ZiPS) range from an OPS of 806 to 882. So he figures to be somewhere between good and really good. Plus he’s now locked up for his peak seasons with some very palatable cost certainty. The contract will pay Granderson $1 million this year, $3.5 million in 2009, $5.5 million in 2010, $8.25 million in 2011, and $10 million in 2012. Even the 2013 option is affordable at $13 million (with a $2 million buyout).
And then there is the off the field stuff. Normally “off-the-field-stuff” conjures up bad images. But Granderson is becoming the face of the franchise on a team with multiple All Stars and potential Hall of Famers. He’s entrenched himself in the community and been exceedingly accessible. He could be the next long term Tiger and as an unabashed fan I hope he is.
The contract is par for the course with the Tigers who are taking care of their own and locking up a team to make a run for the next several years. This deal pushes the team payroll over $133 million this year and $99 million in 2009 (with only 12 players signed).