The Yankees are 29-12 with a rock solid five game lead in the AL East, but not everything is rainbows and sunshine. Every team has a few holes — the Yankees have a gaping hole and his name is Aaron Hicks. The 32-year-old outfielder is still on the books the next three seasons for a whopping $30 million and he’s doing next to nothing to contribute to the Yankees’ success.
So what should the Yankees do? Everyone suggests to trade him, however it’s never that simple. Teams actually have to want what you’re dealing, and if we had to guess, teams aren’t lining up for that contract.
AARON HICKS SWIPING BAGS LEFT AND RIGHT WITH BLAZING SPEED pic.twitter.com/NaBV8mHgzc
— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) May 22, 2022
How bad has Hicks been?
We first have to point out how difficult finding “good” players is in Major League Baseball. We wouldn’t want to try and embarrass Hicks for his play without first mentioning he’s still technically a good at baseball — he’s just not making a positive impact on the back half of his contract. This happens to many athletes, especially those that have dealt with injuries.
Hicks was on the 60-day IL in 2021 for a wrist injury, was day-to-day on five separate occasions the past year, and also received Tommy John surgery back in 2019. He lost most of his power and his arm transformed from a cuban missile into a pool noodle. Players with failing bodies are bound to struggle maintaining athletic output — it just happens.
All that said, Aaron Hicks really isn’t making a positive impact on either side of the ball in 2022. He got off to a hot start in April, and he deserves credit for that, but since then he’s been about as bad as any player in the American League. Hicks is batting just .212 on the season and wait for it…has managed to muster just TWO extra base hits in his 104 at-bats. Batting average doesn’t mean everything and certain players in today’s game find ways to make a positive impact despite a low average — any player getting a hit 20 percent of the time with two extra base hits in a month and a half of play, isn’t helping. And his injuries haven’t only impacted his bat — his defense has fallen off a cliff as well.
That stellar defense from Aaron Hicks makes up for his poor season at the plate pic.twitter.com/NF7GFsiRYB
— MLB Errors (@mlberrors) May 21, 2022
Aaron Hicks, because of injury, is basically just standing in the outfield to create the illusion he’ll make a play. A $30 million scarecrow. And we aren’t poking fun of his Hicks’ injuries that have immobilized him, we’re suggesting the Yankees should understand what’s happening and why. Then the Yankees can move forward to finding a solution to make themselves and even better team.
Hicks’ defensive WAR is -27 since 2017. Not ideal.
In any deal, the Yankees won’t be able to just toss Aaron Hicks to some small market with a minuscule payroll for relief — This isn’t the NBA or your latest MLB video game franchise mode. Teams have to give up assets if they want to receive something like salary relief. In the Yankees’ case, they would have to deal Hicks and his $30 million owed while throwing in some hefty prospects.
Hicks and maybe one or two of your top 20 prospects could potentially get it done? No one wants to rid themselves of prospects they’ve worked hard develop, we know, but allowing a failing player to stay on the roster and play is even worse, right? Has to be for a team looking to win a World Series, as the Yankees surely are.
Trading or designating Aaron Hicks for assignment might be the Yankees’ only options at this point. They have the funds to absorb a $30 million dud so they shouldn’t spend any more time losing games pondering the decision. Rip the band-aid off while you still can. World Series titles are more important than saving face on a bad contract.