by BRIANNA DELUCA Staff Writer
A four-year contract and $60 million later, three-time Major League Baseball (MLB) All-Star outfielder Curtis Granderson was signed by the New York Mets on December 9, 2013. However, Granderson has been playing poorly since the beginning of the season.
In an attempt to improve their roster, the 33-year-old became the Mets’ first major free agent addition since Jason Bay in 2009. Considering the last time the Mets made the playoffs was eight years ago, they were looking for as much help as they could get.
Sophomore Brandon Hommer said, “I was excited when I heard that Curtis Granderson was traded to the Mets. They really don’t have any all-star players besides David Wright, so it will be interesting to see how Granderson will make an impact.”
The former Yankee traded in his pinstripes for orange and blue as he prepared for the upcoming season with his new team on the other side of New York.
Captain Wright stated that he thinks Granderson’s history in New York and his character will make him a very good fit for the Mets.
“He’s proven he can be successful in Detroit, he’s proven he can be successful in Yankee Stadium, and he’s going to prove he can be successful at Citi Field,” Wright said in January. “The ballpark does not matter to him.”
Granderson made his MLB debut as a Detroit Tiger in 2004. He hit 102 homeruns, stole 67 bases, and knocked in 299 runs in six seasons with the Tigers.
After his contract expired, Granderson was traded to the Yankees. He hit a home run during his first Yankee at bat and became the 12th MLB player in history to do so. Despite several injuries, Granderson finished off his first season in New York with 23 more homeruns.
In 2011, Granderson won the Silver Slugger Award. Determined by MLB coaches and managers, the Silver Slugger Award is presented annually to the best offensive player at each position. Granderson was recognized for his outstanding achievements in center field with the Yankees.
With so much success in his past, the pressure was on for Granderson to deliver as soon as the 2014 season began. Perhaps he let the pressure get to him because he got off to a rocky start.
On opening day, expectations were high at Citi Field. Instead of being impressed by Granderson’s performance, fans jeered as he went zero-for-five. To make matters worse, he struck out three times.
After nine more similar games, struggling Granderson was removed from the fourth, or “cleanup” spot in the lineup. Despite his .135 batting average, Mets manager Terry Collins decided to keep starting Granderson, but he moved him into a less important hitting slot.
“I don’t think there’s any other way,” Collins said. “It’s April still. We’ve got to get him some at-bats and get him ready.”
Things began to look a little better for Granderson soon after the lineup change. On Tuesday, April 23, he broke his career-worst slump with a single. After 22 hitless at bats, Granderson regained some confidence.
Freshman Tina Gasko said, “Curtis Granderson is in such a bad slump. He either draws a walk or strikes out every at bat. There’s no in between.”
Currently, Granderson has been watching tapes of his old at bats in an attempt to fix his struggles. By studying hand positioning on the bat, he hopes to rediscover himself as a two season 84 homerun-hitter like he was in the Bronx.
In his last 10 games, Granderson has recorded three hits and 12 strikeouts. His batting average is down to .129, which is only slightly lower than his .154 best for the season.
With a record of 14-11, the Mets have gotten off to a good start. In order for them be great, they need big players like Granderson to step up and start hitting.
How long do you think it will take for Granderson to get out of this horrible slump?