While the majority of New York Yankees fans have been debating the merits of trading Miguel Andujar, there is another player that could be dealt that would provide a path to adding not just Manny Machado but Bryce Harper as well. It also could help the team stay on the cost effective spending plan they’ve stuck to under Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner.
Where does New York Yankees’ Aaron Hicks fit in?
Aaron Hicks profiles as a solid player, but somewhere south of superstar. He is a plus defender, good baserunner and a streaky but solid hitter. He will turn 30 this October, and has probably reached his ceiling as a player. He is about to become a much more expensive player as his arbitration eligibility comes to a close, and he will be seeking a long term deal.
With Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Luis Severino and Dellin Betances all about to become much more expensive it may make sense to move on from Hicks. Brett Gardner can be a one year stopgap while the team continues to monitor Estevan Florialâ€™s development.
This would open a spot in the outfield to see what you have in Clint Frazier (another inexpensive piece) or spend on a certain outfielder who idolized Mickey Mantle and has made it known he’d like to take his talents to Gotham.
If the yankees consider shifting the 23 year old Andujar to first base and leave Gleyber Torres, aged 22, at second, they would have a dynamic and cost effective right side of the infield. This would offset the costs of Machado and retaining Didi Gregorius on the left side. It would also leave the team with four all star caliber infielders under 30 years old. In addition a package of Hicks, Frazier and Greg Bird may be enough to get a solid low cost starter to slide in as a swingman this season and into CC Sabathiaâ€™s spot in the future.
The club also has Jordan Montgomery returning as a cost controlled young starter who was off to a very Andy Pettite like start to his career prior to his injury.
A perfect balance:
An outfield of Harper, Judge, and Gardner with Giancarlo Stanton spelling each on days off would give away some defense but would make the already powerful lineup lethal, and would drop two lefties into the right handed leaning order. The financial flexibility it offered would also keep the teams options open for future additions, while still retaining the flexibility to deal one of its young stars if they determine their productivity will not match their future pricetag.
These moves would all follow the team building plan implemented by Cashman and co. and take it into phase two of this teams development, the fine tuning of a championship caliber team.