Sunday, May 21, 2023

Movin' On from Aaron Hicks...


Aaron Hicks (Photo Credit: AP)

Long-time Yank is designated for assignment…

In an unexpected move, the New York Yankees designated outfielder Aaron Hicks for assignment on Saturday to make way for the re-acquisition of outfielder Greg Allen who had been toiling away in Worcester (WOO-stuh!), Mass for the top Red Sox affiliate.

Most Yankees fans have recognized that time had passed for Hicks with the Yankees. By placing Hicks on waivers (he almost certainly will not be claimed), the Yankees will be on the hook for the remainder of his salary except for minimum wage when another team signs him once he has been released. Just like the Yankees erred in tendering a contract to Gary Sanchez in December 2021, they made a mistake not trying to trade Hicks in the off-season when they could have gotten another team to absorb part of the contract.  I guess it becomes a question of how talented of a prospect(s) would it have taken to get a team like the Minnesota Twins to pay half of Hicks’ contract. We will never know. Teams can now try to sign Hicks for MLB’s minimum salary of $720,000 as soon as he clears waivers.

The Yankees owe Hicks the remainder of his 2023 contract, which was $10.5 million for the season, and in 2024 and 2025, they must cover his $9.5 million annual salary. There is a $1 million buyout attached to 2026. 

For his eight-year career with the Yankees, Hicks hit .230/.329/.384 (.713 OPS) with 81 home runs and 278 runs batted in.  He played in 651 games for New York. 

The Yankees acquired Hicks on November 11, 2015, from the Minnesota Twins for catcher John Ryan Murphy.

Unfortunately, Hicks lost his job just as he was starting to hit in recent days, but it was time. There was nothing Hicks could have done to recapture the trust of the fan base. He may be well-liked in the Yankees clubhouse, and I bet he is fantastic to play golf with, but if anybody needs a change of scenery, it is the 33-year-old Southern California native.  Hicks’ frustrations with part-time play are well documented, and the purge clears some negativity from “The Room”. 

I am not sure if Greg Allen is an upgrade, but the Yankees only need short-term outfield help. They seem to enjoy stopgaps. Allen knows his role, and like Matt Carpenter last year, will be ready regardless of the role he is asked to play. Maybe not this year, but Jasson Dominguez, Spencer Jones, and Everson Pereira will be knocking on the door soon. Three players who have an opportunity to be exceptional Major League talents. Jake Bauers has a short window to prove his worth, but left field seems it will garner attention at the trade deadline for GM Brian Cashman and his team of nerds. I had thought playing Giancarlo Stanton in the outfield was a good way to engage him in games, but the latest IL-stint reinforces the need to keep him at designated hitter.

Allen wore #22 during his prior Yankees tenure, but the number has since been taken by centerfielder Harrison Bader. For his latest number, Allen will be rocking in classic David Robertson (30). A great number, 31, goes back into circulation. For me, the number is forever David Mark Winfield. Admittedly, it would have been tacky if Allen had chosen 31 before Hicks’ corpse was cold.  But somebody in the future will be the beneficiary of a strong number choice.

I wish Hicks the best for his next opportunity.

For today’s series finale in Cincinnati, the Yankees have activated Luis Severino for the start. He replaces Jhony Brito, who was optioned to Triple-A after yesterday’s game. Sevy will be missing the big bats, hopefully for both teams, as Aaron Judge gets the day off.

As always, Go Yankees!

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