2 big-money players the Yankees need to trade this off-season

Andres Chavez
josh donaldson, yankees
Jul 22, 2022; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; New York Yankees third baseman Josh Donaldson (28) walks on the field before the game against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

With a payroll of just under $265 million in 2022, the New York Yankees have the third priciest roster in baseball after the New York Mets and the Los Angeles Dodgers. A lot of dollars are committed to players such as Gerrit Cole and Giancarlo Stanton, who didn’t have huge playoff numbers but came through most of the times.

On the other hand, there are some players who are just too expensive for the production they show on the field, and those are becoming a burden to the payroll because there is little to no return on investment.

Here are two big-money players the Yankees should explore trading during the offseason:

The Yankees should explore trading these two aging assets

Aaron Hicks

Hicks isn’t necessarily a super expensive player. In fact, when he signed his seven-year, $70 million contract before the 2019, it was seen as a good deal, albeit a bit long. The problem for him is that he hasn’t been productive since 2020 and has spent a considerable amount of time on the sidelines with injuries.

His defense is also declining, and to make matters worse, he is already 33. In reality, the Yankees will be lucky to find a taker, and they might need to get creative when it comes to adding useful players/prospects or eating some of his remaining salary until 2025.

Hicks had a 76 wRC+ in 2021 and a 90 mark in 2022, meaning he was below average offensively in both seasons. He does have rebound potential and a great eye at the plate, making him an OBP asset. Will someone be interested in doing business with the Yankees for him?

Josh Donaldson

Donaldson came to the Yankees in that pre-season deal that sent Gio Urshela and Gary Sanchez to Minnesota, also bringing Isiah Kiner-Falefa and catcher Ben Rortvedt to the Bronx. It’s safe to say the trade didn’t work out very well for the Yanks.

Donaldson was about average offensively in the regular season (.222/.308/.374, 15 homers, 97 wRC+) and an asset with the glove, but at $21.75 million, he is extremely pricey. He also had a horrible .540 OPS in the playoffs and put together some ugly at-bats.

If the Yankees are willing to eat a considerable portion of his salary and/or attach an enticing young player, they might be able to trade Donaldson, who will make similar money in 2023 and then has a club option in 2024. It won’t be easy to find a taker, though.