In the end, it was only fitting that Curtis Granderson broke his own news.
He spent his four years with the Mets always willing to answer questions and take accountability, never dodging reporters after losses. But that’s not why he was there early Saturday morning. No, Granderson was saying goodbye.
On Friday night, he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers — who are 86-34 and have a 19-game lead in the NL West — for either a player to be named or cash. The Mets also will receive cash in return, the team announced.
But though rumors of a possible trade swirled throughout the Mets’ rain-delayed 3-1 loss to the Marlins on Friday night, the final word came in an unusual fashion. It wasn’t uttered by Jay Horwitz, the Mets’ public relations guru, nor general manager Sandy Alderson.
“Sandy and Terry said I was getting moved to LA depending on once everything finally gets squared away,” Granderson, 36, said by way of announcement. “It’s been a great four years here with the Mets’ organization. All these guys here have been amazing . . . It’s a little bittersweet to do that, but to get an opportunity to go and play in the postseason is going to be exciting.”
It’s a cost-saving measure for the Mets. Granderson, who will be a free agent after the season, is making $15 million this year. But in many ways, moving him to the best team in baseball also was a way of thanking a player who always did what the Mets asked him to do. He mentored young players, shuttled around the outfield and memorably hit three home runs in the 2015 World Series, all with a torn ligament in his thumb.
But what he’s never done is win that ring. He has gotten to the World Series twice, in 2006 with the Tigers and again with the Mets two years ago, but fell short. This could be his best chance.
Meanwhile, the Mets continue to shed salary and players. They’ve traded Granderson, Addison Reed, Lucas Duda, Jay Bruce and Neil Walker, and more trades could be coming before the Aug. 31 deadline for postseason eligibility.
The return has left many underwhelmed, as the deals have been heavy on the money and light on the prospects.
Granderson’s emotions? “Mixed,” he said. “To be able to switch that up all of a sudden to go to a team that’s saying we’re not finished at the end of September, that we’re going to go into the postseason, it changes some things up a little bit for me. Excited, still going to come out ready to play . . . I’m looking forward to it.”
Granderson hit .228 with 19 home runs and 52 RBIs with the Mets, and though that’s a big drop from the numbers the former All-Star put up in his prime, he’ll give the Dodgers pop, much-needed depth and an excellent clubhouse presence.
Just Thursday, he hit a grand slam in the ninth inning against the Yankees, his second homer against his former team in the four-game Subway Series. He has hit 312 homers in his 14 seasons, including 84 for the Yankees in 2011-12.
He did not play Friday night and disappeared down the tunnel sometime in the middle innings — proof that something was up.
Predictably, Granderson fulfilled his role as the resident veteran up until the last possible moment. “I was talking to Dominic Smith and Gavin Cecchini” about pinch hitting, he said. “Something they’re not too familiar with. [We talked about] learning it and understanding it and when do I need to get ready . . . All things that seem pretty simple until you actually do them.”
Asked about what he’ll remember about his tenure, he said: “If I was able to help some of these guys along the way on that side of it, those are going to be some of the big takeaways that I’ll have.”
He reflected on lost opportunities, too, but Granderson didn’t quite frame it that way. “Of course we wanted to go ahead and win it all . . . But to get there, especially when a lot of people didn’t think we’d get a chance to get there, there’s something to be said about that,” he said.
And so he leaves New York, positive until the very end.