Granderson Happy to Cross Town
Lake Buena Vista, Fla. — Curtis Granderson’s first hit for his new team was a playful shot at his old employer.
“A lot of the people I’ve met in New York have always said that true New Yorkers are Mets fans,” Granderson said Tuesday. “So I’m excited to get a chance to see them all out there.”
The lefty-swinging Granderson and the Mets finalized a four-year, $60 million contract at the winter meetings that completed his move from the cozy right field of Yankee Stadium in the Bronx to spacious Citi Field in Queens.
Wearing a jersey with a new shade of pinstripes and a number that was unavailable with the Yankees — hint: it belonged to Babe Ruth — Granderson credited a “yummy salmon” meal with general manager Sandy Alderson and some encouragement from Mets captain David Wright for his joining the Mets.
That, and the fact that the Mets were the only team to offer No. 3 a fourth contract year.
“It was what we had to do,” Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon said. “It was something we wanted to do. It fit well with the plan.”
Granderson’s deal is the biggest free-agent contract given out by the Mets since Jason Bay agreed to come to New York in December 2009, after Mets’ first of what is now five straight losing seasons. He’ll make $13 million in 2014.
“He brings a tremendous amount of professionalism. He brings a personality. He brings credibility. He brings experience, and he brings talent,” Alderson, a Dartmouth College graduate, said. “I think all of those things will be important. I really like the mix of players we have character-wise, personality-wise. I think he will enhance that mix. He’s a gregarious, infectious personality. Saw a little bit of that today.”
The three-time All-Star gives the Mets a power bat from the left side of the plate to complement the righty-swinging Wright in a lineup that struggled to score runs and hit only 130 homers. They tied with Atlanta for worst in the National League with 1,384 strikeouts.
Granderson, who turns 33 in March, batted just .229 with seven homers last season when he was limited to 61 games by wrist and hand injuries. But he surpassed 40 homers with the Yankees in each of his previous two seasons.
His high strikeout rate did not scare the Mets, though.
“I’m not as concerned about strikeouts as I am producing some runs,” Mets manager Terry Collins said. You know, home run hitters strike out. That’s not a concern of mine. The concern was we have a lineup that struck out a lot and didn’t produce.”
Granderson joins Chris Young, who signed a $7.25 million, one-year contract this offseason in a much-improved outfield from last season. Before the season, Alderson had quipped: “What outfield?”
So what does Yankees general manager Brian Cashman think about his former player taking a jab at the Yankees?
“I understand why he would say that,” Cashman said. “The great thing about our city is there’s room for both. The Mets got a good player, they really did.”