On the very first day of spring training, Granderson was drilled on the hand, causing it to break and forcing him out until May. After returning for a couple of games, Granderson was again plunked on the hand and the hand re-broke, which again, forced him out for a couple of months.
The 31-year-old Granderson was the team's leader in home runs over the last two seasons with 41 and 43 home runs respectively and if he hadn't missed most of the season with the two separate hand injuries, could have used Hunter Pence's five-year, $90 million deal as a guideline in free agency this winter, but that all changed with his bad luck.
On Thursday, Granderson's agent Matt Brown told Dan Martin of the New York Post that his client's first choice is to remain with the Yankees and would like to come back to the Bronx for the 2014 season.
“That’s his first choice,” agent Matt Brown said Wednesday. “He absolutely wants to stay there.”
Given the Yankees other two options to start in right field would be Vernon Wells and Ichiro Suzuki, both of which struggled late in the season with the bat, Granderson would be a terrific option to have starting in right field if given the opportunity. With Granderson coming off his injury-plagued season, it is still highly expected that the Yankees and GM Brian Cashman will offer him a one-year, $13.3 million qualifying offer for 2014, which might be enticing enough to get signed.
Granderson and Brown both know that the outfielder will likely not get a huge offer from teams, although Brown felt that teams could remember when Granderson was a top home run hitter in the league and finished fourth in the American League MVP voting back in the 2011 season.
“It looks like we’re probably headed down that road,” Brown said. “But I think people remember what he did the previous two years.”
Given Yankee Stadium's short porch in right field, it has been very beneficial to Granderson's swing, which has seen him hit 115 home runs in less than four years, whereas in six years with the Detroit Tigers, hit 102 playing in a more spacious Comerica Park, so Granderson playing in a different ballpark might see a drop-off in production if he were to leave New York, similar to what Johnny Damon experienced in 2010 when he left the Yankees to play with the Tigers and saw his power numbers drop.
With free agency kicking off in less than a month, Granderson will have some tough decisions to make, but ultimately, his best option is the Yankees because he fits very well in the offense and as long as he can stay healthy, there will be room for him to be a starter in 2014.
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