While some have wondered whether veteran outfielder Curtis Granderson would call it quits this offseason, that does not appear to be his preference. Per Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, via Twitter, Granderson intends to play in 2018.
The 36-year-old Granderson just wrapped up the free agent deal he signed with the Mets and finished with the Dodgers. Midway through the 2017 campaign, he acknowledged at least contemplating the end of his playing days, though he hardly made any commitments. While he had run up a quality batting line for most of the year in New York, the lefty-swinging slugger faded down the stretch with Los Angeles. Granderson ended the season with a .212/.323/.452 slash over 527 plate appearances.
It’s obviously not likely that the respected veteran will be tasked with such a significant role in his next destination. But he certainly could potentially handle a platoon assignment, particularly since he still runs well and is capable of solid glovework in the corner outfield. Granderson has long carried rather notable splits and would be best served facing only right-handed pitching, but in the right setting he might be a real asset.
There will be some competition on the market, of course. Carlos Gonzalez, Jarrod Dyson, Jon Jay, and Seth Smith are all generally similarly situated, short-term targets (albeit with varying strengths and weaknesses, as well as anticipated price points). Potential part-time righty bats include Howie Kendrick, Austin Jackson, Jayson Werth, and Chris Young, and then there’s the switch-hitting Melky Cabrera. With a variety of trade candidates also floating around, it’s easy to see how many alternatives will be presented.
Still, Granderson ought to do well enough in free agency, even if there’s no chance of matching the $15MM annual value of his last contract. He’s regarded as one of the game’s best citizens. While things didn’t go as hoped with the Dodgers, particularly in the postseason, Granderson was targeted as a finishing piece and could well be seen that way by other organizations. Over the four seasons since he signed with the Mets, Granderson carried a .235/.338/.440 composite batting line (113 OPS+) while appearing in an average of 152 games a year. With more targeted usage, he might conceivably approach or even exceed that level of output on a part-time basis.