The casual fan thinks the Yankees traded Johnny Damon to the Tigers for Curtis Granderson. It's an easy one to mistake. Granderson was acquired by giving up minor league outfielder Austin Jackson and relief pitcher Phil Coke.

Much of the debate had centered around not re-signing Damon. But with nearly a full season to compare, Jackson is the player the Yankees should have kept. He could become the AL's rookie of the year unless voters go with Rangers' closer Neftali Feliz.

Jackson is hitting .305 with 31 doubles, 10 triples and 22 stolen bases.  The only question  on Jackson is his power, with three homers and 32 runs batted in. That may still come.

Granderson is at .246 with 17 homers and 48 RBIs. Damon is batting .271 with eight homers and 46 RBIs. You'd rather have Damon than Granderson, but given his age, first year numbers and potential, Jackson trumps both of them.

Keeping Jackson, 23, would have saved a bundle of money and still allowed for the pursuit of pending free agent Carl Crawford to play in left.  What  to do with Brett Gardner you ask?  As the team is finding out right now--sans injured Gardner and Nick Swisher-- you can't have too many outfielders. 

As for Coke, who has had a good season with the Tigers, perhaps keeping  him would have  resulted in no Sergio Mitre in the bullpen.

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