When the Tigers unloaded Granderson earlier this offseason it was widely believed they were unloading salary. Dave Cameron at Fangraphs said at the time;
" The Tigers aren't as good today as they were yesterday, but they did manage to shed some payroll...."
Makes sense the Tigers were shedding payroll and restocking with MLB ready talent. But then word comes of the Jose Valverde signing, 2 years and 14 million. Valverde will make the same salary in 2010 as Curtis Granderson. Also, there are rumors of Detroit being in on Damon. So what gives?
The only possible explanation is that Detroit was selling high on Granderson believing that his 2009 was closer to the player he is and his stellar 2007 was the aberration. With clubs still viewing him as the player the saw in 2007 Detroit unloaded him when they had the chance. His salary in 2010 is very reasonable but it climbs to 8.5 in 2011 and 10 million in 2011. If he had another year like 2009 the tigers would have gotten almost nothing back in return for him after the 2010 season.
Now obviously the Yankees feel that Granderson is closer to the 2007 version of himself or they wouldn't have made the trade. However, you have to wonder if the Tigers were watching him every day and felt he was possibly on decline were the Yankees possibly wrong here? Did they buy a player on decline? We will see how it plays out but maybe this deal isn't the slam duck we thought it was at the time.