As Spring Training 2019 inches closer and closer, the Marlins went ahead and added veteran outfielder Curtis Granderson, signing him to a minor league deal on Tuesday. Now the question is, how is the three-time All-Star going to contribute for Miami this season?
Although his production numbers aren’t what they used to be, Granderson brings quite the pedigree over to South Florida, hoping to shed light on a rebuilding franchise.
How did he get here: signed a free agent minor league deal on Tuesday.
2018 MLB Stats: .242/.351/.431, 13 HR, 117 OPS+ in 123 G
2019 Projection: .223/.324/.428, 18 HR in 454 PA
The Miami Marlins today signed outfielder Curtis Granderson to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training.— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) February 5, 2019
Come welcome him to the 305 at FanFest on February 9th! pic.twitter.com/P9VqkJkNLV
Since his major league debut in 2004 with the Tigers, Granderson has been not just one of the premier outfielders baseball, but one of its classiest acts. An All-Star, Silver Slugger, Roberto Clemente Award winner and three-time Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award winner, his accomplishments exceed those of anybody else currently in the Marlins organization.
Marlins sign Curtis Granderson to a minor league deal. I like this move. They need some vets in the OF. He’s a good clubhouse guy and can still produce in spots.— Will Manso (@WillManso) February 5, 2019
Though he’ll be 38 before the season starts, age hasn’t stopped Granderson from putting up solid numbers. Last season, the veteran demonstrated that he could still do damage at the plate, hitting 13 homers with a .782 OPS, which would’ve ranked second on the Marlins behind only J.T. Realmuto (min. 400 PA).
What can we expect from his 2019 season?
We know that Granderson will be a positive locker room guy and a great mentor for young players like Lewis Brinson, but whether or not he can be a real asset on the field for the Marlins is the thought-provoking question.
He’ll have to improve on is his fielding after accounting for -5 Defensive Runs Saved with the Blue Jays and Brewers in 2018. He is also vulnerable against left-handed pitchers, posting a weak .174 BA.
One aspect of Granderson’s game that is attractive to Don Mattingly’s team is his power at the plate. Although slugging just 13 home runs last year, he is two seasons removed from hitting 26 in 2017. He has aged gracefully, logging six seasons with 20-plus homers since turning 30 years old.
If there’s one thing that this Marlins offense needs, it’s power, considering that they finished with the fewest home runs in the majors.
Players with the most career home runs at the time they joined the Marlins— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) February 5, 2019
1. Andre Dawson, 428
2. Carlos Lee, 354
3. Carlos Delgado, 336
4. Curtis Granderson, 332
Nice company https://t.co/h9Rnomrl6M
The Marlins anticipate using Brinson as their regular center fielder. That still leaves many potential combinations for the corner outfield spots. However, aside from Granderson, those options are lacking in MLB experience and track record.
Prior to this signing, Austin Dean was poised for a lot of playing time in left. He’s coming off a career year in the high minors that led to some reps with the Fish in August and September.
Brian Anderson—if he doesn’t play third—would get into the lineup as their right fielder. It was a foreign position for Anderson as a rookie, but he adjusted extremely quickly.
Elite prospect Monte Harrison should break through to The Show before the end of 2019. Also on the 40-man roster, the Marlins have speedster Magneuris Sierra and new utility guy Rosell Herrera, not to mention Garrett Cooper returning from wrist surgery. Non-roster invitees in major league camp Gabriel Guerrero and Harold Ramírez will try to sneak into the conversation, too.
Granderson has been assigned No. 21, last worn by Christian Yelich. If he can do anything close to the reigning NL MVP, 2019 can be kind to this veteran.