ORLANDO -- The White Sox are free to pursue Curtis Granderson if they choose after the outfielder declined a qualifying offer from the Yankees on Monday.
Whether or not they want to add Granderson, who blasted 84 home runs between 2011-12, will come down to much more than the large payday Granderson is expected to receive. Per media reports, Granderson could receive at least $45 million over the next three seasons and perhaps much more if a bidding war ensues. Granderson showed his confidence in such a scenario after he elected to bypass a qualifying offer that would have paid him $14.1 million next season to return to the Yankees.
But the big salary isn’t the only significant cost for the White Sox, who would lose their second-round draft pick to sign Granderson because of New York’s qualifying offer. Any team who signs a player who received a qualifying offer must forfeit its first-round pick unless it falls within the first 11 selections in next June’s draft. If so, the team must forfeit its second-rounder.
There’s no question the White Sox have interest in Granderson.
What’s not to like?
He’s Chicago-born and bred and would give the team a way to connect to its fan base both on and off the field. Granderson -- an investor in three Chicago restaurants -- is also widely respected in the clubhouse for his leadership skills and could fill a void in that department were Paul Konerko not to return to the White Sox.
Then there’s the matter of his skillset.
Granderson’s power isn’t just a byproduct of the short porch at Yankee Stadium and would clearly play at U.S. Cellular Field. He also would offer the team a solid outfielder to join Avisail Garcia.
The White Sox are said to be very high on the attributes Granderson could offer.
But the big salary and the loss of a high draft pick may just outweigh all the positives. One of the keys to this month’s signing of Jose Abreu is that the White Sox didn’t have to forfeit any players in a trade or lose draft picks to acquire the slugger. As general manager Rick Hahn said, the deal was strictly about money and he used that as a selling point with owner Jerry Reinsdorf.
Hahn has been adamant he wants to continue to replenish a farm system that added eight players through trades in July and August and also added international signee Micker Zapata. The club has earmarked $14-15 million of its 2014 payroll to sign amateur draft picks and international free agents.
“I actually caught myself saying to Jerry, ‘you know it's just money,’ which I then had to catch myself and quickly expand upon,” Hahn said last week. “By that I meant we aren't giving up a draft pick. We aren't giving up players in addition to money. What we're doing here is reallocating resources we cleared off last summer and devoting them to something we felt was the long-term benefit.”
Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer also sounds as if the overall cost for Granderson would be a hindrance, which makes him an unlikely fit for the rebuilding club. The Cubs have the fourth overall pick in next June’s draft and would have to surrender their second-rounder to sign Granderson.
“I guess without commenting specifically on our interest in him, he’s got a great reputation, sterling character, really great leader in the clubhouse and obviously everybody knows what kind of player he is,” Hoyer said. “But it is appealing to think about a player that has all those qualities. I have yet to hear someone say a bad word about him. I have no idea his interest level in coming back to Chicago, but I certainly know his roots are pretty deep there and we know he’s done a lot for the city.”