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Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Will Grandy be back in Bronx in '14?

By Wallace Matthews

TAMPA, Fla. -- In the past three years, no Yankee has hit as many home runs as Curtis Granderson has. In fact, no one has come closer than a dozen away from the 108 bombs the Grandy Man has launched in pinstripes since he came over from Detroit in a three-way trade before the 2010 season.

Curtis Granderson
Curtis Granderson signs autographs Tuesday at Steinbrenner Field.
Take it a step further: Which major league hitter has the most home runs over the past two seasons? Granderson again. His 84 homers in 2011 and 2012 are better than Miguel Cabrera's and Ryan Braun's 74, Jose Bautista's 70, Josh Hamilton's 68 and Albert Pujols' 67.

Granderson's left-handed power stroke seems tailor-made for the invitingly short right-field fence at his home ballpark, yet if you were to make a bet, the odds are Granderson will not be a Yankee after this season.

"I would love to play with the Yankees next year," Granderson said in the clubhouse at The Boss after Tuesday's workout. "It's been great. I've enjoyed my time here, and if the opportunity presents itself I would love to remain."

But, he added, "It's out of my hands. All I can control is getting myself ready for the season and hopefully help this team win a championship."

All indications are the Yankees are inclined to bid farewell to Granderson when he becomes a free agent after this year, for a couple of reasons: Hal Steinbrenner's $189 million payroll ceiling seems to render it impossible for the club to retain both Granderson and Robinson Cano, and besides, the Yankees don't seem nearly as in love with Granderson as they were, say, in 2011, when he seemed to have reinvented himself as a home run hitter after struggling in his first season as a Yankee.

Even though Granderson hit 43 home runs last year, the Yankees were dismayed by his soaring strikeout total -- a career-high and all-time Yankees record 195 -- and plummeting batting average (.232), OBP (.319) and OPS (.811, down from .916 in 2011). Most alarming was his average against left-handed pitching, which fell to .218 after having risen to .272 in 2011.

Plus, the talk of switching him to left in favor of Brett Gardner in center also seems to indicate the Yankees aren't in love with Granderson's defense anymore, either. According to the website FanGraphs.com, Granderson ranked at or near the bottom in every advanced defensive metric among every-day center fielders.