From our corner of New York, it often seems like teams are all to willing to hand their star players over to the Yankees for practically nothing. And from that perspective, the initial reaction today was that the Yankees acquired one of the best center fielders in baseball for a package led by a prospect who had 4 homers and 123 strikeouts in AAA.
Once we calm down, we'll probably come to the conclusion that this is in fact a very good deal for the Yankees, but totally understandable from the Tigers perspective because of the different economic positions of the teams. Granderson is a very good player, but probably not nearly as good as we thought he was a year ago. He's probably a 3.5-4 win above replacement player, worth about $15 million on the open market. He's due about $24 million over the next 3 years (with a $13mm team option in 2013), so the Yanks are getting about $20 million of excess value over what they'll have to pay Granderson. Are they giving up $20 million worth of talent? Probably. I know Ian Kennedy seems like a failed prospect, but he came back healthy in the Arizona Fall League and there's still a decent chance he'll be a solid back-of-the-rotation starter. Austin Jackson will likely be a solid everyday player, but because he doesn't hit for power and strikes out a lot, it's hard to imagine much more. The odds of any of these guys turning into a player as good as Granderson are very, very slim. On the other hand, there's a lot of value in having an average starting pitcher and an average center fielder for 6 seasons at extremely discounted prices.
I think it's a great deal for the Yanks. They upgraded at one of the few positions they were able to with a young, fairly cheap player. They didn't give up anyone who figured prominently in their future plans. Unlike most teams, the Yankees don't have much use for a young, cheap, average player. So, it doesn't make sense for them to hold onto players like Jackson and Kennedy.
I think the Tigers are doing pretty well in the deal, too. Jackson will be practically free for his first three seasons, and will probably be an average everyday player. They also managed to pick up a great young pitcher in Max Scherzer.
This is a NY blog, so I won't focus too much on the Tigers-DBacks part of the swap. But I don't understand this deal from Arizona's perspective at all. Scherzer is probably at least as good a pitcher as Edwin Jackson and he's much cheaper.
From the department of things that make you go hmmmmm: the Yankees traded Brian Bruney for the rights to the first pick in the Rule 5 draft.