What if the Yankees signed Bourn and traded Granderson? 28


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.


About Rob Abruzzese

Rob Abruzzese created Bronx Baseball Daily in 2008 just before graduating from Brooklyn College. He currently serves BBD as its editor and works as a reporter at the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Follow Rob on Twitter @RobAbruzzese.


28 thoughts on “What if the Yankees signed Bourn and traded Granderson?

  • Hitman 23

    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.

  • Dave

    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.

  • Hitman 23

    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.

  • Dave

    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

  • Reggie44

    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.

  • Gonzalo Hiram

    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

  • cool2u

    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.

  • KennyH123

    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.

  • Mike

    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.

  • Rob Abruzzese

    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.

  • @DiscGolfHero

    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?

  • Tanned Tom

    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.

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