The Big Trade

It wouldn’t be the winter meetings without a big three way trade. This one is pretty substantial.

As the reports stand, here’s who is trading places.

To New York Yankees: Curtis Granderson
To Detroit Tigers: Austin Jackson, Max Scherzer, Daniel Schlereth, Phil Coke
To Arizona Diamondbacks: Edwin Jackson, Ian Kennedy

From the Yankees perspective, this deal is almost too good to be true. Heading into his age 29 season, Granderson is a legitimate +4 win center fielder signed to a bargain contract for the next four years. I ranked him as the 22nd most valuable asset in terms of trade value in baseball over the summer, and the Yankees are getting him for a variety pack of role players. He instantly makes their team better, giving them a legitimate all-star center fielder who should thrive in Yankee Stadium. For as much as the Yankees have a payroll advantage, they continue to win because Brian Cashman targets the right players. Granderson is a fantastic acquisition for them.

From the Tigers perspective, this deal makes some sense, even though they’re giving up the premier player in the trade. Scherzer is a terrific arm, ranking 44th on my trade value series. He’s a quality pitcher who has five years left of team control, giving the Tigers a frontline starter on the cheap who will be in Detroit for the foreseeable future. Jackson should be a decent player, though not a star, and could hold down center field for the league minimum. Schlereth and Coke strengthen the bullpen.

The Tigers aren’t as good today as they were yesterday, but they did manage to shed some payroll and still have a premium young player under team control for significant years. I’d rather have Granderson than Scherzer, but considering the cost differences, this deal makes some sense for Detroit.

Arizona, though… what a mess. Jackson and Kennedy will shore up their rotation, but they aren’t worth a kid as good as Max Scherzer. Jackson’s a mid-rotation starter whose salaries are escalating in arbitration, while Kennedy is a back-end starter who missed most of 2009. They didn’t get better, they didn’t save money, and they didn’t get younger. This move is just not a good one for the D’Backs, unless there’s another impressive piece going to Arizona that hasn’t been reported.

A+ for the Yankees, who continue to show that they know what they’re doing. Not a bad deal for Detroit, who needed to save some cash. But man, I’m sorry for D’Backs fans, who just saw their team screw up.

Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

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Just a few hours ago I didn’t want this deal to happen, but now I’m warming up on it. You’re a lot more enthusiastic than me. It’s hard to watch one of your team’s top prospects be traded, but like you said Granderson is a 4 win 28 year old center fielder. I guess this is a good move for the Yankees.