They would have $89 million for the other 20 on the roster, including an entire outfield, four starting pitchers, an entire bullpen, a DH and a bench.
Would keeping Granderson at $15 million a year be feasible?
By then it’s also possible that Mason Williams, the highly regarded center field prospect, might have convinced the Yankees he’s ready to inherit the job.
If Granderson continues to put up 40-home run seasons, however, he would make it awfully difficult not to find a way to re-sign him. As it is, he’s in rarefied air, having joined Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle as Yankee center fielders with 40-plus home run seasons.
He also fits nicely into the post-George Steinbrenner era, a star who is more earnest than outspoken. Indeed, compared to the likes of DiMaggio or Mantle, it’s hard to imagine that a slugging Yankee center fielder could carry a lower profile.
Maybe it’s because he doesn’t show up places in limos with entourages, but Granderson says he’s rarely even recognized in Manhattan, where he lives.
“Maybe it's because I’m not as big as people might expect,” he said with a laugh. “When fans do recognize me they always say, ‘You look bigger on TV.’
“But I walk around town all the time. I walk right past people wearing Yankee caps and Yankee shirts, and it’s rare when anybody recognizes me. It’s OK. I don’t need any more attention.”
The longer Granderson keeps hitting home runs for the Yankees, the more likely that will change. But with payroll cuts coming, even 40 home runs a year may not assure him of a long stay in the Bronx.