Today, something will happen I never again expected to see:
Curtis Granderson will rejoin the Yankees.
I thought we'd trade him. Frankly, I hoped we would. Not that he's a villain. Grandy remains a solid world citizen - a good-deed-doer and role model to all. He plays fine defense and hits many HRs. It's just my lingering memory -- Curtis, trudging to the dugout, bat in hands, puckering his mouth, staring at the grass, glancing back once, pulling off the helmet, plopping onto the bench - another hapless moment as the season crashes around our ribs.
Last October, the whole team collapsed. But for me, the Grandy Man stung the worst. His mere presence against Detroit reminded us of what may become Brian Cashman's worst career trade - Ian Kennedy to Arizona, and Austin Jackson & Phil Coke to Detroit - three solid players, while the Grandyman marches to the dugout, fuming and clueless.
Last season, the Grandy Man struck out 195 times. He stole 10 bases, his lowest total since 2005. He batted .232. The only thing he did was hit HRs - 43.
In the playoffs against Detroit, he went 0-11 with seven strikeouts - this after a 3 for 19 against Baltimore. Joe benched him for Brett Gardner, who had barely swung a bat all season. The worst part seemed the way Grandy accepted his demise: He'd march to the plate, take three drunken hacks, then march back.
This season, the Yankees have been a different team with runners on base. The castoffs bunt and move runners - doing what the stars refused to do. Baseball Reference has a clutch-hitting stat called "Late & Close:" In it, Granderson last year hit .146.
The '13 Yankees are a team of second chances. Make no mistake: The real reclamation projects are yet to come. Today, Granderson gets his second chance. He either reclaims his status as a five-tool player - or I hope we Frisbee his homer-happy butt to another team before anybody can say "Brennan Boesch." We need 195 strikeouts like we need another Raul Mondesi . We don't need them in October, and we don't need them in May. If Grandyman starts over-swinging - if after 100 ABs, his average sinks into Andruw Jones territory - I hope Cashman peddles him for a box of Kleenex and gets on the Red Phone to Scranton. The kids and scrap-heapers will give us a better shot at a World Series than all the millionaires of Tampa.
But it's up to Grandy. Which one returns? Today, we start to learn.