Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 10/29/12
The Yankees are known to spend a bit too much money on washed-up stars. They've also been talking about changing their ways and trying to stay under the luxury tax threshold moving forward. But they're willing to pay for established, premium in-house talent -- that is, if the talent produces. Oh, the irony that New York just exercised two player options that will cost the club $30 million -- and that the players getting the money went 7-for-70 in the playoffs this year but are considered must-haves for the team. While Alex Rodriguez and his $28 million contract will get the most attention in New York, two other Yankees were just as bad as Rodriguez in the division series and ALCS this year. And they're the ones the team is picking up for $15 million apiece for next season. Robinson Cano (3-for-40 in playoffs) and Curtis Granderson (4-for-30) have both been locked up by the Yankees. Both are due to become free agents in 2013. Throughout the last couple of years, Cano and Granderson were seen as key pieces for the Yankees to build around for the future. Granderson, acquired in a trade from the Tigers in 2010, has hit 108 home runs with the Yankees over the past three years and provided exceptional defense. Cano, going into his ninth year in the major leagues, is a lifetime .308 hitter with a sweet swing and plenty of power. Both are just entering their 30s, making them far more attractive as centerpieces than the Yankees' current, older stars (Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira). But after following their stellar 2012 seasons with horrific playoff performances, Cano and Granderson may have to really prove themselves in their final contract year. While New York hasn't been shy about paying its stars before, the Yankees will be wary about breaking their new luxury tax promise for guys who crumple in the postseason (what happens to Nick Swisher this offseason will be a key indicator in that regard). Keeping Cano and Granderson at $15 million apiece was an obvious move for the Yankees, as both players are still excellent hitters and strong at their positions. But the Yankees can't be happy that they still can't get their money's worth, even with new, careful financial ways. Call it a curse.
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