NEW YORK -- When the Mets signed Curtis Granderson to a four-year, $60 million free agent deal in December 2013, the contract ushered in a new era for the Mets. The day the signing became official at MLB's Winter Meetings, the Mets crowed about their desire to start competing on
NEW YORK -- When the Mets signed Curtis Granderson to a four-year, $60 million free agent deal in December 2013, the contract ushered in a new era for the Mets. The day the signing became official at MLB's Winter Meetings, the Mets crowed about their desire to start competing on an annual basis, with a rising payroll and so much bright, young pitching.
Though the Mets achieved their pennant aspirations in 2015, they faded out of contention early this season. As a result, their selloff of veteran assets continued late Friday, when the Mets traded Granderson and cash to the Dodgers for a player to be named later or a separate cash payment.
While his playing time with Los Angeles is unclear at this point, Granderson's addition should improve the Dodgers' outfield depth. Joc Pederson has faded as the summer has worn on, collecting just two hits in 37 at-bats in the month of August. Chris Taylor, one of baseball's biggest surprises this season, has already logged a career-high 102 games and 409 plate appearances. Yasiel Puig has improved greatly against right-handed pitching this season, but Granderson and his .853 OPS against righties could step in if Puig should falter.
A source said the Mets are also close to completing a deal to trade backup catcher Rene Rivera, though they have not finalized it. Both Granderson and Rivera are due to be free agents after the season.
"It's been a great four years here with the Mets organization," Granderson said, shaking hands and hugging teammates and staff members in the Mets' clubhouse early Saturday morning. "All these guys have been amazing. … It's a little bittersweet. But to get an opportunity to play into the postseason is going to be exciting."
Since May 10, Granderson is batting .273 with 17 home runs and a .979 OPS, the latter mark 10th in the Majors over that stretch. The Mets received interest in Granderson over the winter, but preferred to keep him, valuing his clubhouse presence as the league's reigning Roberto Clemente Award winner, as well as his powerful bat. In particular, Granderson has crushed right-handed pitchers, slugging .504 against them this season.
"It's tough to see him go," teammate Michael Conforto said. "He's a huge part of this team, as far as on the field and off the field, he plays a huge part of who we are. We'll definitely remember the way he goes about his business and hopefully try to do some things like he does."
In Los Angeles, Granderson will join a club running away with the best record in baseball, a juggernaut boasting legitimate World Series aspirations. Granderson should help; he completed his Mets tenure with a .239 average and 95 home runs in 573 games, 49 of which gave the club a lead or tied a game. He is one home run shy of reaching 20 for the 10th consecutive season.
Over the past three weeks, the Mets have traded the bulk of their pending free agents, including first baseman Lucas Duda, second baseman Neil Walker, outfielder Jay Bruce, reliever Addison Reed and Granderson. In return, they have received a cadre of pitching prospects and significant salary relief.
The Mets did not announce how much of Granderson's remaining salary they will pay, but it is money that can help them in the future. The deal also frees up playing time for Juan Lagares and Brandon Nimmo, two outfielders who could play significant roles on the 2018 club.
Though the Mets valued their three and a half years with Granderson, they were unlikely to re-sign him after this season. More than anything, however, the trade gives Granderson a chance to play for a contender. He has never won a World Series ring despite making six postseason trips with the Tigers, Yankees and Mets.
"I was looking forward to the rest of this season," Granderson said. "Now, getting a chance to switch that up all of the sudden, and going to a team that's saying, 'We're not finished' at the end of September, that changes some things up for me a little bit. But I'm excited."
Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.