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Yankees could try to make deal for Granderson

Detroit's Curtis Granderson hit 30 home runs last

Detroit's Curtis Granderson hit 30 home runs last season and is only 29 years old. Credit: Getty Images

The Tigers' cost cutting has altered the landscape of the baseball industry, as the Yankees now will investigate another intriguing option in Detroit's Curtis Granderson.

But though Granderson would love to play for the Yankees, according to a friend, the Yankees will face some fierce competition for the All-Star's services. From some unexpected places, too.

According to a person in the loop, the Angels and Tigers have conversed about a Granderson trade, even though the Angels already have an All-Star centerfielder in Torii Hunter. The Angels are interested in playing Granderson in leftfield and either trading Juan Rivera or moving him to designated hitter.

Rivera, the one-time Yankees prospect, put together a presentable 2009 season, hitting 25 homers with a .332 on-base percentage and .478 slugging percentage as he earned $3.25 million in the first season of a three-year deal.

Yet he hit poorly in the 2009 postseason, putting together a .222 on-base percentage and .278 slugging percentage. And while his outfield defense scored well by sabermetric counts, he might be best remembered for failing to get to a seemingly catchable, game-winning single by Boston's Alex Gonzalez on Sept. 16 in a 9-8 loss to the Red Sox.

When asked if he had spoken with Detroit about Granderson, Angels general manager Tony Reagins wrote back in an e-mail, "I do not have a comment on this one." The 2009 Angels fielded a lineup that was not very imposing against righthanded pitchers; Granderson would help provide some balance.

The Yankees think very highly of Granderson, who turns 29 next March, hit 30 homers in 2009 and is under team control through 2013. Though Brian Cashman declined to trade high-caliber prospects for the likes of Johan Santana and Jake Peavy, he'd likely be more open to a deal like this because of the reasonable dollars committed to Granderson - $5.5 million next year, $8.25 million in 2011 and $10 million in 2012, with a $13-million team option (or $2-million buyout) for 2013 - for an extended period of time.

In addition to Granderson's attributes on both sides of the ball, he has a warm personality that has made him one of Major League Baseball's greatest current ambassadors. Said a friend of Granderson's, on the condition of anonymity: "I think he would love New York, and New York would love him."

The Cubs also are expected to inquire about Granderson, who resides in Chicago.

The Yankees will hold their professional scouting meetings early next week, at which point they'll develop a more precise game plan for the offseason. If they acquire Granderson, they have less of a need to retain Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui, as Melky Cabrera, Brett Gardner and the youngster Austin Jackson could help patrol leftfield.

Cabrera could start in centerfield against lefthanders, as Granderson historically fares very poorly against lefties.

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