MLB.com: Chicago Homecoming Would Be Sweet for Granderson
Nov. 7, 2013
Article written by MLB.com's Phil Rogers
CHICAGO -- For almost a decade now, Mike Dee has listened to Chicago media and fans criticize the Cubs and White Sox for whiffing on a truly homegrown treasure. He says that the knock hasn't been founded, that the local teams knew all about Curtis Granderson when he was hitting .483 for the University of Illinois-Chicago Flames, who will soon play their games in Curtis Granderson Stadium.
"It was a scout convention every time he played," said Dee, the Flames' coach who had just been hired when Granderson put away a basketball and dedicated himself to being a full-time baseball player. "Everybody saw him. People questioned his size, and there were [other] questions. I give the Tigers credit."
While other teams broke down Granderson's baseball tools, there was a broader discussion in the Detroit Draft room.
"The scout who signed him [Jerome Cochran] was an ex-cop and he was around us all the time,'' Dee said. "I think he had great insights into who Curtis was as a person, and I think he pushed really hard. He knew the Tigers were getting something more than a talented player, and that was a selling point.''
The 80th player overall selected in the 2002 First-Year Player Draft, Granderson has been a three-time All-Star with the Tigers and the Yankees. He was fourth in the American League MVP Award voting in '11, when he became the first player in the Major Leagues to deliver at least 40 home runs, 10 triples and 25 stolen bases.
But in Granderson's best years and his down ones, he's always delivered a lot more than statistics. That's why it's so intriguing to think about Granderson coming home to Chicago, just as it was when the Tigers began shopping him at the General Managers Meetings in 2009.
Granderson could join Cuban first baseman Jose Abreu to help the White Sox become competitive again. He could give the Cubs the type of veteran that agent Scott Boras has said they need -- a highly respected player to serve as a sounding board and mentor for the wave of talent headed to Wrigley Field from a farm system that has been Theo Epstein's priority.