What if the Yankees signed Bourn and traded Granderson?

The Yankees lost quite a bit of offense this offseason and will be without Alex Rodriguez for at least the first two months of next season. The offseason isn’t over, but Brian Cashman has a tough job ahead of him in filling four positions on a limited budget.

Perhaps instead of looking to replace the bats that are gone the Yankees should instead consider run prevention possibilities. I’m talking about trading Curtis Granderson and using the money they save there and use it to sign Michael Bourn.

The move will give the Yankees a younger, more long term solution in center field while taking one of the worst defensive outfielders in baseball and replacing him with one of the best. And they can do it without spending any extra money.

The question is — would Bourn’s defensive upgrade make up for the offensive drop off? Is there that much of an offensive drop off? Let’s compare the two players to find out which is the better one overall:

AGE: Granderson will be 32-years-old to start this season while Bourn will be 30.

DEFENSE: Bourn also blows Granderson away defensively. In his career Bourn’s UZR numbers are Gardner-ian with 22.4 UZR in 2012 and a 19.4 UZR in 2010. He did have a negative-6.4 UZR in 2011, but it was the lone blip in a career with a overall 54.7 UZR.

SPEED: Bourn also brings a Gardner-esq speed on the bases. He stole 42 bases last year and has averaged over 45 stolen bases per year in his career. Meanwhile, Granderson’s running game has deteriorated to the point where he stole just 10 bases last year. Granderson was never as fast anyway as he only ever stole 26 bases in any season.

AVERAGE: Bourn hits for a better average than Granderson with a career .272 mark against Granderson’s .262. What’s worse is Granderson’s average has trended down since he hit .302 in 2007. There was one blip in 2011, when Granderson managed to hit .262, but overall he has been a .254 hitter in the past five years bottoming out at .232 last season.

PATIENCE: Granderson has more patience, but because he hits a little better their OBP’s have been similar with Bourn at .339 throughout his career and Granderson at .341. Bourn’s biggest weakness, a 22 K%, is not even as bad as Granderson’s 28.5 K%. This one is pretty even.

POWER: This is the only area Bourn trails Granderson. Bourn’s 10 triples, 26 doubles, and career high nine home runs just don’t add up to Granderson’s 43 homers and 18 doubles. Granderson has become quite an all or nothing player though and his .492 slugging percentage last season was the 3rd lowest in the history of MLB for players with at least 40 homers in a season. Still, Bourn just doesn’t stack up as even his career high .391 slugging percentage still trails Granderson’s worst.

MONEY: Granderson is set to make $15 million this season. He’s going to want at least that per year for four or five years as a free agent and based on his regression last season the Yankees probably won’t want to keep him at that price. Bourn is expected to make about same which is comparable to the five-year, $75 million that B.J. Upton got from the Braves. Bourn is probably the best of all three of those outfielders, younger than Granderson, and leverage against Robinson Cano in contract talks.

OVERALL: Except in the power department Bourn is better in every way than Granderson. Defensively alone there is a 40.2 point swing in UZR which represents about four wins. If they flanked him with Brett Gardner in left and Ichiro Suzuki in right that might be the best defensive outfield in the history of baseball. On top of that he’s an upgrade on the bases, which was a major problem for the Yankees last year, and a better hitter for average with similar on base skills.

If the Yankees managed to both sign Bourn and trade Granderson, even just a straight salary dump, they would lose some power, but still have a good hitter, a better base runner, and a superb defender. The increase in defense might make up for the drop off the lineup will no doubt experience without A-Rod, Russell Martin, and Nick Swisher. And they could do it without increasing the payroll.

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28 Responses to What if the Yankees signed Bourn and traded Granderson?

  1. Hitman 23 says:

    Whoever wrote this article should never be allowed to touch a keyboard again. I am still trying to figure out the big upside to Bourn over Granderson.

    • Reggie44 says:

      Defense and pitching wins World Series not home runs and strike outs.

    • Was that a bad joke or can you really not read?

      You must have missed the part where I wrote that Bourn is younger, hits for a better average, is more patient, is faster, and a better defender and if the Yankees did this they would be getting a better player at the same cost.

      • ldubinsky says:

        no, I don't think that he has a problem reading. i think that he read it and simply found it to be as silly as it is.

        there's nothing to like about the idea…. the Yankees can replace Granderson in CF with Brett Gardner. they don't need to spend some vast sum on Bourn when their real needs are elsewhere…

        • So who do they replace Gardner with then? You're still down an outfielder. Besides, having a Gardner/Bourn outfield is part of the reason to sign Bourn — run prevention (since it'll be next to impossible to replace what's been lost already).

          • ldubinsky says:

            Ichiro if nothing better comes along, it'll do just as well on D and won't be a waste of money.

            there's no good reason to commit to Bourn for years and big bucks. he's nothing special and is priced as if he is………..

            they need corner outfielders….

            you wanna trade Granderson, then sigh Hamilton instead of trying to half-arse it with Bourn.

          • The point of adding Bourn, not Hamilton, is because it doesn't add extra money. Also, Ichiro at 40-years-old is a big question mark so Ichiro at 41 in 2014 is an even bigger question mark. I don't think you can say now that he's definitely in play for 2014.

          • MiLB PLAYER says:

            Good point about trade GRANDY and sign hamilton.

            I see it like this:
            Hamilton= $25m

            Money we have for 2014:
            Kuroda 15m
            Pettitte 12m
            Mo. 10m
            Grandy 15m
            Burnett 8m (trade money)
            Youk 12m (if he signs)

            That's alot of money, I see 2014 like this not hurting because of younger players coming up,

            1.CC
            2.PINEDA
            3.FA/PHELPS/BANUELOS
            4.NOVA/TURLEY
            5.WARREN/BETANCES

            CL FA/MONTGOMERY
            SU ROBERTSON
            SU KAHNLE
            LR WARREN/PHELPS
            LR BURAWA
            MR LOGAN
            MR CABRAL

            Also for 2013 why would anyone want an outfield of Gardner/bourn/ichiro? They're good players but they're all lefties and Gardner hits .270's with bourn close to .300 and ichiro is unknown what he's gonna do. Plus you might get only 30 HR at the most out of them after last year you got a combined 100+ HR out of your outfield between GRANDY/SWISHER/IBAñEZ/JONES/ICHIRO. Now we know we're not getting alot of HR if we trade GRANDY but you save 10-15m on GRANDY depending on the type of trade so then give that and some money you save from players leaving after 2013 and come up with 20-25m dollars for Hamilton somehow.

            BTW FOR CHRISTMAS I WANT A RED RYDER BB GUN…. o_o…. "YOU'LL SHOOT YOUR EYE OUT KID!"….. Gets the gun :)….. •_o

          • Martyvan90 says:

            You forget the Yankees want to end welfare for the Pirates et al in 2014.

  2. Dave says:

    This actually doesn't sound as bad as I thought it would be. It gives us a younger, better defensive center fielder over our current strikeout machine in center. Bourn might lack in power, but maybe he'll find his stroke once he sees the stadium. Some players do.

  3. Hitman 23 says:

    Hey Reggie, we had great pitching and great defense last year and we didn't win the world series. Incidentally, you guys are saying he is younger, which is true, but by two years. It's not like Bourn is 25. AND Bourn strikes out A TON.

    • Bourn stikes out less than Granderson, you would know that if you actually spent 2 minutes to read the article, and 2 years is a big difference as Granderson is entering the decline phase of his career.

    • Granderson didn't do anything in the playoffs though. It's not like we're losing much in that department either. So in the end for the playoffs it's a net gain. When you think about it the players that did well in the playoffs were Jeter and Ichiro, high average hitters. Raul played out of his mind too so he was the exception to the rule about low average hitters.

  4. Dave says:

    I would rather do this. If we could trade granderson, Hughes, nova, Nunez, and arod along with 100 million for Stanton and Nolasco. Then sign Hamilton to a 3 year 75 million dollar contract

  5. Reggie44 says:

    Yes true but grander son is horrible its a strike out or home run. Lets remember how we won all those WS in the 90's.taking pitchers small ball walks. This team could not win if it didn't hit a home run.and as far as defense nick swisher was mighty scared out the. Ever see him go back on a ball.

  6. Gonzalo Hiram says:

    No no and no
    Get Hamilton (until 100M/4years), Ichiro (1 year), trade Granderson and then next year there is no pressure if Cano goes away

    • Chances of signing Hamilton appear to be extremely small. I'm trying to focus on something that could actually happen.

      • Gonzalo Hiram says:

        I was expecting the Rangers to get Greinke so a run for Hamilton would be more possible, but still if they trade for Upton then Hamilton would be available for less than 6, 7 or 8 years, the crazy amount of years that Cano will be looking for.

  7. cool2u says:

    Ichiro is 39 not 40 years old. He played great this season and should never be counted out. He will prove to be very effective if played in right field, his natual position. Mark my words, he is a true champion.

  8. KennyH123 says:

    Gardner, Bourne and Ichiro might provide great defense, but would easily rank as the worst offensive OF in baseball history. Collectively they would be hard pressed to hit 10-15 home runs, and might hit .270 doing it. Are you insane? What a stupid idea. Please stop writing articles.

  9. Mike says:

    I agree with Reggie44. Defense and pitching are the keys along with timely hitting. The Yanks used to be full of timely, clutch hitters, that's what wins, especially in the playoffs. We need a few more grunts who have what it takes to perform on the big stage.

  10. I do agree that an outfield of Gardner-Bourn-Ichiro would be very light hitting, but that doesn't necessarily make this a bad idea. They could still sign Bourn/trade Granderson, but get a different right fielder. Maybe also trade for Josh Willingham to play right or maybe Jason Kubel of the DBacks. Something more along those lines to make up for lost production.

    The idea, though, is about run prevention. The offense has already taken a hit so rather than necessarily replace what's lost you focus on run prevention instead (make the pitchers more effective). It might not be everybody's favorite idea, but with almost no payroll flexibility I was trying to come up with something creative.

    • It's a good idea. We need some players who can hit for average anyway. OBP is great but when you hit .220 you're not going to get on base enough even if you walk a ton.

  11. I like this idea. It's outside the box, and it's nice to hear some ideas outside of the same few that every news outlet/ site/ blog is discussing. Also, although flawed, Grandy isn't value-less. If the Yankees aren't worried about replacing his HRs, isn't it possible that we could potentially acquire his replacement in the trade for him, making it unnecessary to sign Bourn, or anyone else?

  12. Tanned Tom says:

    I thought this was an interesting article, and am surprised at the personal nature of the negative comments. You people need to throttle back, or do you go through life spewing nastiness anytime you disagree with someone?
    I like the idea of trading Granderson, the trade that brought him will go down as one of the very worst made under Cashman. Bourn. I'm less keen on. I love the type of player he is, but think he's not worth the $15 mil folks are talking about. Also with management hamstrung by ownership into not giving multiyear deals, this is a purely academic discussion.
    What I'd like to see happen:
    1) Move Gardner to CF
    2) Trade Granderson for prospects and a backup INF
    3) Re-sign Suzuki for RF
    4) either acquire a LF for the short term, or promote Dickerson/Mesa/Mustelier and let one of them win the job.