During the past two years in pinstripes, Curtis Granderson has victimized the Red Sox, belting seven homers and 16 RBIs against the AL East foes. Turns out, the Yankees outfielder was nearly on Boston’s side of the rivalry.
The Wall Street Journal reported the Detroit Tigers had inquired about Jacoby Ellsbury and Clay Buchholz in 2009 in exchange for Granderson. Then-Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein tried to steer the deal toward a one-for-one –– Ellsbury for Granderson.
At the time, Granderson wasn't as effective against left-handed pitching. But the Red Sox never expected the outfielder to drastically improve to the point he did in 2011, when he hit 14 percentage points higher against lefties than righties.
As a result of the transformation, Granderson blasted 41 homers and 119 RBIs en route to finishing fourth in the American League MVP race last season — a race in which Ellsbury happened to finish second behind Justin Verlander.
"Whenever you look at a player you always think about things you can do with them," Epstein told the Journal. "I don't think we necessarily expected that there would be this kind of transition, which was really to some degree unprecedented."
Current general manager Ben Cherington also credited Ellsbury's potential as a factor that prevented the Red Sox from sealing the deal.
"We had Ellsbury in place, so I think the Yankees may have been a little more motivated than we were," said Cherington, then Epstein's assistant.
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