Granderson eager for fresh start with Blue Jays

January 26th, 2018

TORONTO -- was looking for an opportunity to play on a regular basis. The Blue Jays gave him one, and now Toronto is about to find out how much the 36-year-old has left in the tank.

Granderson officially joined the Blue Jays earlier this week on a one-year deal worth $5 million. He's expected to platoon in left field alongside Steve Pearce, and receive the majority of the at-bats vs. right-handed pitchers.

As with recently acquired right fielder , Toronto hopes that a move to the hitter-friendly ballparks of the American League East will lead to an uptick in power. Granderson knows power is a big part of his game, but he plans to help out in other areas as well.

"Regardless of where we end up having to play, you've still got to find a way to produce and help the team out," Granderson said. "Talking to [manager John] Gibbons, he said one of the things we're looking to do is score a couple more runs. No matter how that happens to be -- if that happens to be due to the ballparks, or just us doing what we need to do to move some runners around. Any way that I can go ahead and do that, I'm going to be trying my best to do so."

Granderson is coming off a 2017 campaign that was a tale of two seasons. He began the year having to deal with constant trade speculation, but managed to hit 19 home runs and post an .815 OPS over 111 games for the Mets. He was then traded to the Dodgers, but despite a lot of team success, Granderson never settled into a groove.

The 14-year veteran hit just .161 with nine extra-base hits over 36 games for Los Angeles. He appeared in a handful of postseason games, but was ultimately left off the Dodgers' World Series roster. The Blue Jays clearly are banking on receiving a Granderson that is closer to the first-half version than the second half.

For his part, Granderson doesn't shy away from the fact that things didn't work out as planned in Los Angeles. Even so, the lack of personal success easily took a back seat to the possibility of securing a ring.

"Some things went your way, some things didn't go your way, but that's the course of baseball," Granderson said. "If we'd all go out there and bat 1.000, obviously we'd be the best players ever, but we also know we're not going to strike out every time.

"There's going to be somewhere in the middle, and sometimes you're going to be closer to one side than the other. Things didn't necessarily go the way I wanted them to, to be able to put our team in the best opportunity to win. But we went to Game 7, that's pretty darn close, we just ended up coming up short to a great ballclub in the Houston Astros."

Granderson has been a team leader just about everywhere he's played. Toronto has no shortage of veteran players on its roster, but it still shouldn't take Granderson very long before he assumes that role in Toronto as well. Just expect it to happen naturally over a period of time instead of on Day 1.

"Being a team guy comes from, one, just listening, watching and observing your team," Granderson said. "Being willing to listen, ask questions, understand, observe. That's the only way you're going to get a chance to understand how you can fit in. Some teams need you to come in there and just lead by example. Some teams need you to go ahead and be more vocal, but no one's going to have a playbook for you."