Free agent Curtis Granderson says winning is top priority
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN Staff Reporter November 13, 2013 10:46PM
Updated: November 14, 2013 12:01AM
Curtis Granderson’s honorable efforts to feed hungry children, which were on display at his Grand Kids Foundation fund-raiser on Wednesday night in River North, isn’t what makes the three-time All-Star outfielder an attractive free agent to numerous teams, including the White Sox. But his left-handed power and ability to produce runs does.
Granderson hit 41 home runs in 2011 and 43 in 2012 for the Yankees, and power gets harder to come by with each passing year. Granderson, who will be 33 next season, could land a three-to-four-year contract in the $12 million-$15 million range. Having the Thornton Fractional South and UIC graduate’s name on the back of a Sox uniform would be icing on the cake for the club’s marketing and sales departments.
But do the Sox, who lost 99 games last season, appeal to Granderson? He said his top priority is to play for a winner.
“The big thing is I want to win,’’ Granderson said. “I had an opportunity in my first full big-league season with the Tigers to play in the World Series. We lost, but I thought I’d be back the next year. Standing here in 2013, I haven’t been back since. Having the opportunity to win a championship is important to me. Also security.’’
As for those 99 losses, well, Granderson knows not to close doors, especially on the team based nearest to his hometown roots. He cited the recent turnarounds of the Tigers, Red Sox, Pirates, Royals and Indians as a reason not to dismiss the Sox.
“The days of teams being consistently bad have kind of gone away,’’ he said. “Everything is a possibility and has the ability to be turned around quickly as long as organizations do things in their minor-league system and get a piece here and there with free agency or trades. Everything is an option.’’
Granderson is saying the right things and keeping his options open as any free agent should. Power is at a premium in a lean year for free agents. The Mets, needing a power-hitting corner outfielder, seem interested.
The level of the Sox’ interest will be known in the coming weeks. Granderson would cost them their second-round pick in the draft.
“In general, we’re more drawn to younger players that are theoretically going to be in the prime of their careers during the time period we feel we’re going to get this thing back on track,’’ general manager Rick Hahn said at the general managers meetings in Orlando, Fla., on Wednesday. “That’s part of the reason why Jose Abreu [age 26] was so appealing to us in the free-agent market. Those are the types who are the most attractive. It doesn’t mean you don’t bring in older players to provide balance to a lineup that can bring leadership abilities or other intangibles that can help a good team turn into a great team.’’
While in town, Granderson has heard plenty from Cubs and Sox supporters.
“It’s amazing the amount of people saying, ‘Come back home,’ ’’ he said. “Then there’s been a divide: ‘Come to the Cubs. Come to the White Sox.’ It’s exciting that there is interest at that level.’’