In 2017, the Baltimore Orioles had a few weaknesses that were not related to pitching.
The Baltimore Orioles were short on left-handed batters and they were also lacking full-time outfielders in left and right.
Adding a left-handed bat to the roster
With a heavy right-handed roster, Granderson would be a welcomed left-handed batter who could also play full time in the outfield. While he started his career as a full-time center fielder, he has experience in both corners. When he was with the New York Mets, he spent most of his time in right field, which is exactly what the Orioles need.
Speedy everyday right fielder
In 2017, the Orioles had several men who roamed right field. Craig Gentry, Joey Rickard, Seth Smith, and occasionally Mark Trumbo spent time in right field. Gentry and Rickard also spent time in left field. Young Austin Hays could spend his rookie season in right in 2018, but he could play in any of the three spots if he can prove he is ready for the Big League.
Interestingly, Granderson has the same fielding percentage (.993) in center and right field. He has been to three All-Star Games and he won a Silver Slugger in 2011 when he led the American League with 136 hits and 119 RBIs. He finished fourth in the AL MVP voting that year, but lost to his former Detroit Tigers teammate Justin Verlander.
He doesn’t play like he’s over 35
Granderson will be 37 in 2018, but he still has plenty of pop left in his bat and speed left in his legs. He has played for the Tigers, Yankees, Mets, and Los Angeles Dodgers and has remained a fan favorite in Detroit and with both New York teams. When he returns to his former home fields, he receives the kindest cheers from fans at every single at bat.
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He is a quality player and even with his veteran status, he has plenty to offer to the young Orioles players. He would fit in nicely with the home-run hitters, as he has hit 20 or more home runs in 10 of his 14 seasons. Along with 20+ home runs, Granderson can still leg out 20+ doubles and a handful of triples. He also can still steal a few bases each season.
He can hit hard and run fast
For a one-year contract, Granderson would be an asset for the Orioles. Playing at a home stadium like Camden Yards would be a good fit for a hitter like Granderson. His power-speed numbers are solid and he ranks 10th on the list active players who have both speed and power. Players in the top 10 include Melvin Upton, Ian Kinsler, and Hanley Ramirez.
Granderson has a career slash of .252/.339/.472/.812. Although in 2017, he batted .212/.323/.452/.775 combined with the Mets and Dodgers. He plays well whether home or away and he hits right-handed hitters very well. With his speed and power, he has often been used as the lead-off batter and his 2017 OPS at lead-off was 1.078.
He may not be Dan Duquette’s first choice, but he is certainly worth a look. He’ll be affordable and he does more good for his teams than not.