Curtis Granderson: Where Does He Fit in the New York Yankees "Plan" in 2013?

Christopher Benvie@CSBenvie81Correspondent IISeptember 5, 2012

CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 26: Curtis Granderson #14 of the New York Yankees hit a solo home run during the sixth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on August 26, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images

What happens when a plan backfires in baseball?

If you're the Boston Red Sox or the Philadelphia Phillies, it means blowing up your team in hopes of future sustained success.

If you're the New York Yankees... well, it's unfamiliar territory.

Yet here they are, at the losing end of a 10-game swing in the American League East division battle, tied with the Baltimore Orioles.

According to Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal, the Yankees' plan to reduce their payroll below the $189 million luxury-tax threshold by 2014 could be backfiring.

In order to meet these financial goals, the Yankees have been forced to utilize older players at substantial contracts (read: Alex Rodriguez) as well as younger, inexpensive players to supplement their lineup (read: Jayson Nix.)

At the end of the day, the Yankees will be forced to make a very hard decision around one of their brightest young stars.

Curtis Granderson will see his contract run up at the end of the 2012 season, whether or not he will remain in New York will be indicative of how strictly Hal Steinbrenner will adhere to his own goal.

Granderson had a $13 million team option for 2013 in his contract with a $2 million buyout. However, written in the language of said contract that option increases to $15 million with a top-five MVP finish and/or All-Star appearances in 2011 or 2012.

Well, Granderson was an All-Star in 2011 and 2012, while finishing fourth overall in the 2011 AL MVP voting.

Obviously, he was the player the Yankees expected him to be, but now the question is: will they be willing to pay Granderson that $15 million owed him next season?

Would they prefer to dabble in the free-agent market with a short money investment, take their shot on a younger prospect, or, bite the proverbial bullet and bring Granderson back?

Objectively, it would seem wise to take him on that one-year deal.

While in New York, Granderson has posted a .248/.340/.504/.843 batting line. He's added 99 home runs with 265 RBI.

Additionally, Granderson has racked up 58 doubles and 20 triples for an impressive 177 extra-base hits in total.

Should the Yankees decide not to pick up that option, there is a very real chance that the market for him could get somewhat lucrative.

The market will be set by wheresoever Josh Hamilton signs. Then of course, an obvious drop in attention will be paid to Melky Cabrera due to his recent PED suspension. Both issues will be huge contributing factors to the revenue Granderson could expect on an open market this season.

While Granderson is 31-years old, and would be 32 next season, if the Yankees want to continue to compete while trimming their payroll they must bring back Granderson.

Even if it means overspending a little. After all, the Yankees are used to that.