LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Curtis Granderson was introduced as the newest member of the New York Mets on Tuesday and wasted no time getting on the good side of an oft-frustrated fan base.
“A lot of the people I’ve met in New York have always said that true New Yorkers are Mets fans,” Granderson said during his introductory news conference. “I’m excited to get a chance to see them all out there.”
The former Yankee joined WFAN radio shortly after the presser.
“There’s a lot of Mets fans out there,” he told host Mike Francesa. “I see the hats all over the city and throughout the U.S. So I’m excited to get them back into the ballpark.”
Granderson said he felt he was “wanted and needed” by the Mets. He hopes the club can pass those vibes along to the Flushing faithful next season.
“Come out there in droves like I know you can,” Granderson told the fan base on WFAN. “Be very excited and eager about this upcoming season. It’s going to be fun to watch, we’re going to play hard out there for you, we’re going to be competitive and we’re going to go out there and win as many games as possible. … If you haven’t been (to Citi Field), definitely come out for the first time because you’ll definitely be back.”
The four-year, $60 million deal with the three-time All-Star is the team’s most expensive since Sandy Alderson took over as general manager. Granderson agreed to sign with the Mets on Friday, and the contract was finalized Monday during the winter meetings.
“He’s a winner, No. 1, and not only a class professional but a class individual,” Alderson said.
Granderson, who turns 33 in March, hit .229 with seven homers and 15 RBIs this year for the Yankees, when wrist and hand injuries limited him to 61 games. He surpassed 40 homers in each of his previous two seasons in pinstripes.
“You saw it happen last year with Boston going from last to first — any team has an opportunity to go out there and win,” Granderson said during the press conference. “And this organization as a whole, with the pieces that they have, such as David Wright and the rest of the cast out there, we have everything in place to go out there and do some amazing things.”
Granderson will wear No. 3.
“David Wright was one of the first to contact me early on, and then after I signed he reached out to congratulate me,” said Granderson, who prefers to play center field but may not get the chance with Juan Lagares also in the lineup.
Mets manager Terry Collins said Tuesday on WFAN radio that the addition of Granderson “might be the best early Christmas present I’ve ever had.”
“This is a big piece to our puzzle here,” Collins told Francesa. “I think he’s going to be a great player in our lineup. He’s certainly going to protect David. But you know him, Mike, his personality is a perfect blend for us.”
New York also signed free-agent outfielder Chris Young to a $7.25 million, one-year contract this offseason.
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(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)