- Andrew Marchand, ESPN Senior Writer
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Hal Steinbrenner's "serious goal" is to have the Yankees' payroll fall below the $189 million salary threshold. With that in mind, here at ESPN New York, we are going to examine potential free-agent and trade candidates in a feature we call "Spend Hal's Money."
Candidate: Curtis Granderson
2013: .229, 7 HRs, 15 RBIs, .723 OPS
SHOULD THE YANKEES SPEND HAL'S MONEY?: Timing can be everything in free agency. Granderson finished fourth in the MVP voting in 2011 and looked like a guy who eventually would receive a $100 million contract. In 2012, he hit more home runs -- 43, two more than in 2011 -- but also struck out an alarming 195 times, and hit just .232.
Granderson needed a big season to really cement his free-agent value. Instead, this year, from the first inning of spring training, he dealt with broken bones and a demotion from center field to a corner outfield spot to DH. He did it with a solid attitude, but when you think about where he was then and where he is now, there is not going to be any nine-figure contracts coming his way.
However, Granderson may receive a three- or four-year deal worth $50 million to $60 million, though it probably won't come from the Yankees, even if they remain his first choice. The Yankees are expected to offer Granderson the $13.8 million, one-year qualifying offer that will ensure they receive a first-round pick if he flees.
Granderson will have teams interested in him as part of an outfield free-agent class that includes Jacoby Ellsbury, Shin-Soo Choo, Carlos Beltran and Nelson Cruz. In his hometown of Chicago, the White Sox are already said to have plans to go after the Grandy Man.
Granderson will be 33 by the start of next season. He is the type of player the Yankees need to start shying away from a year too early, rather than a year too late.
OUR VERDICT: If Granderson accepts the one-year qualifying offer, that's great. If not, let him walk.