He hasn’t worn the Olde English D for nearly a decade, but former Tigers center fielder Curtis Granderson is still a Detroit Tigers fan favorite. However, he may be a former baseball player soon; Granderson, 36, has accepted that he may retire after the 2017 according to Howie Kussoy of the New York Post.
“I’m 36 years old. I never thought I’d be playing this long,” Granderson told the Post. “I thought I was only going to play two years and get released, and they kept letting me come back for 12 [full] seasons. We’ll see what happens, but there are other things I know I want to do.”
A 14-year MLB veteran, Granderson has amassed 45.2 rWAR in over 1,700 career games. He is a career .254/.340/.473 hitter with 306 home runs and 148 stolen bases in 7330 plate appearances. He has remained productive into his mid-30s, and is batting .224/.325/.456 with 13 home runs in 317 plate appearances for the Mets this season. New York may look to deal him at the upcoming trade deadline, as they are 43-50 and 11 games out of the National League Wild Card race.
Granderson is in the fourth year of a four-year, $60 million contract he signed with the New York Mets prior to the 2014 season. He also played four seasons with the New York Yankees following the three team trade with the Yankees and Arizona Diamondbacks that sent him eastward in exchange for Austin Jackson and Max Scherzer.
However, Tigers fans remember him most fondly for the six years he spent in Detroit. He starred on the 2006 World Series team, hitting .260/.335/.438 with 19 home runs in 159 games played. He followed that up with one of four 20-20-20-20 seasons in MLB history; he hit 38 doubles, 23 triples, 23 home runs, and stole 26 bases in a 2007 season that saw him produce a career-best 7.6 WAR.
Granderson hasn’t fully settled on retirement, however. In fact, it sounds like he would prefer to keep playing. “I’m going to enjoy this season,” he said. “If an opportunity presents itself for me to play, that’s great. If not, I’ve had a great run and I enjoyed it.”
He doesn’t want to ride the bench, though.
“This is one of those situations where I know that an extensive, long-term deal isn’t coming,” said Granderson, who is batting .228 with 13 home runs and holds a career-low 0.9 WAR. “The situation has to be right, whatever that happens to be. I’m not going to the minor leagues. I’m not doing that. It all depends on what the situation is.”
While this is maybe a discussion better saved for the offseason, I would love to see the Tigers sign Granderson to a one-year deal. He would be an upgrade over the current corner outfield platoon, and would give prospects Christin Stewart and Mike Gerber some time at Triple-A before moving up to the major leagues. Granderson may not want to play for a rebuilding club — even one that would love him as unconditionally as Detroit — but his presence would certainly add some excitement to a team with few other reasons for optimism heading into next year.