Shakespeare once wrote of "the winter of our discontent" that would eventually become a "glorious summer" in Richard III. If Shakespeare was around now, and was a sportswriter, blogger, or Tigers fan, he might revise that line to speak of the winter of long-term contracts. And hopefully, the deals the Tigers have penned will lead to a glorious baseball summer in Detroit.
Curtis Granderson is the latest player to be shown the money this winter by the Detroit Tigers, agreeing to a five-year contract earlier this afternoon. (Typically, I was away from the computer and was informed by Billfer via IM. It's becoming the story of this blog: When news breaks, I'm on break.) As the Tigers have done with each of their long-term deals this offseason, they've taken care of Granderson's first year of free agency while also buying out his three arbitration years. According to ESPN.com's Buster Olney, the deal is worth $30.25 million.
Granderson locked down his claim on center field and stardom in Detroit with the season he put together last year. Hitting .302/.361/.552 and racking up the "quadruple 20" (doubles, triples, home runs, and stolen runs) was the kind of stat line the Tigers were hoping for at that position eventually - but maybe from Cameron Maybin someday. Those sorts of numbers made it okay for the Detroit braintrust to include their top prospect in the deal for Miguel Cabrera, and place a priority on getting into the Curtis Granderson business for a long-term basis.
Of course, what Granderson does off the field also makes him a worthy investment for the Tigers. ESPN and TBS gladly put him behind their studio desks for their post-season TV coverage. He's literally an ambassador for the sport of baseball overseas, and has placed a great importance on establishing a presence in the community with school appearances and ventures such as his recent charity basketball game.
Granderson provides exactly what many of us say we want from our professional athletes, and Detroit is fortunate to have him. As I've written before, I think he's the face of the Detroit Tigers and a figure the team and its fans can proudly hoist upon our shoulders to celebrate.
▪▪ As you might expect, The Grandy Report has culled together the coverage of today's news.
▪▪ Tiger Tales reminds us that the numbers definitively show that Granderson is the team's best baserunner and baseball's best defender in center field.
▪▪ And I should link to Billfer's post at The Detroit Tigers Weblog since he's the one that nudged me toward the computer this afternoon. So much for the Monday after the Super Bowl being a holiday.
[Updated at 6:00 p.m.]