It was deemed a block-buster when Arizona, Detroit and New York struck a three-team deal in the offseason that had Curtis Granderson headed to New York for a prospect and a middle-reliever.
At the time Granderson was coming off a career-worst season, but the consensus was that adding a guy who hit 30 home runs in his worst offensive year to the defending World Series champs was going to be a good deal.
As for the price? Most thought it was a steal to land Granderson for Austin Jackson and lefty Phil Coke.
But looking at how the deal has unfolded today shows the Tigers have gotten the better of the deal.
Jackson is batting .303 and is a top candidate for AL Rookie of the Year. His $5.5 million replacement, Granderson, is batting .240 and is getting worse.
Here is comparison of their stats:
Granderson (.240, 11 HR, 35 RBI, 51 R, 10 SB)
Jackson (.303, 1 HR, 25 RBI, 68 R, 17 SB)
Austin Jackson was a budding prospect in the New York farm system but never got a shot at the major-league level. Phil Coke was usurped by Damaso Marte in the World Series and the Yankees had no use for him.
It was a no-brainer for the Yankees to bring in Granderson for the “Chase for 28.”
As the months of the baseball season unfolded, it was soon clear the Tigers got the best pieces of the three-team deal.
In April Jackson batted .364 with 20 runs and led the league in hits. Granderson batted .221 with 10 runs in April.
Granderson went on the DL in early May and when he returned batted .333. Aside from a brief May, Granderson has not batted over .266 in any month and is currently .179 in August.
Jackson’s shortcoming has been consistency. He slumped in June, busted out in July and is now batting .255 in August.
Lastly, Granderson’s fielding has been suspect this season, whereas Jackson received praise during Armando Galarraga’s near-perfect game when he made an extraordinary over-the-shoulder snag in the ninth to keep the Cleveland Indians hitless.
Coke’s services were not needed in New York, but he has been a fixture of the Detroit bullpen. Coke is 7-2 with a 2.55 ERA and has 42 strikeouts in 49-and-one-third innings pitched. Stellar stuff. Despite Marte’s success in New York, he has, once again, spent too much time mending on the DL.
The Tigers also acquired Max Scherzer via Arizona. Scherzer (7-9, 4.03) has pitched well since being recalled from Triple-A on May 30. He has recorded a 14 strikeout game and lowered his ERA almost two-and-a-half runs since returning. He’ll be starting tonight’s game against Javier Vasquez and the Yankees.
The Tigers acquired a second player from Arizona, Daniel Schlereth, a flame-throwing 24-year-old reliever. He pitched briefly in July before being sent back down to Triple-A.
The Diamondbacks acquired Ian Kennedy from the Yankees and Edwin Jackson from the Tigers in the three-team deal. Edwin Jackson threw a no-hitter against the Tampa Bay Rays on June 25, but the Diamondback’s shipped him to the Chicago White Sox a month later.
Since filling the void in Chicago’s rotation left by Jake Peavy, Jackson has been exceptional. Though he has only won one game with the White Sox, he has held the opposition to one earned run in each of his three starts.
Ian Kennedy seems to have turned his career around with Arizona. He’s 7-9 with a 4.38 era for a struggling team. The bright spot has been his health. Kennedy has made every start for the Diamondbacks and logged 146 innings.
The Granderson versus Jackson debate has not been settled as both players are still young and under contract for additional seasons. It is fair to say, however, that this week’s matchup between the Yankees and the Tigers will be a juxtaposition of the two outfielders and which team remains ahead in the deal.