New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone did everything in his power to give outfielder Aaron Hicks an opportunity to resurrect his season despite polarizing results.
Hicks started off his 2022 campaign hitting .306 with a 42.6% on base rate in the month of April, but those numbers quickly deteriorated, and he’s once again struggling considerably in August. Over 43 at-bats, Hicks is hitting .116 with a 20.8% on-base rate and a .116 slugging percentage. He’s tallied five hits in that sample size with 12 strikeouts and just one RBI.
Because of his lackluster production, Boone was forced to make a change, elevating Estevan Florial from Scranton Wilkes-Barre to take over in center field. While Florial hasn’t recorded a hit in two games, it is difficult to play as poorly as Hicks showcased over the past few weeks. His defensive quality has fallen off as well, justifying Boone’s decision to inject fresh blood into the roster.
It is documented that general manager Brian Cashman tried to offload Hicks and his seven-year, $70 million contract at the trade deadline. He wasn’t able to find any suitable trade options, which isn’t surprising given he still has three years of guaranteed play after the 2022 season at about $10 million per year.
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The team has a 2026 club option that includes a $1 million buyout, but given his statistics, the Yankees would have to package Hicks with another solid player just to offload him and his bloated contract.
The Yankees can’t continue to roll with Aaron Hicks:
On the season, Hicks is hitting .217 with a 33.8% on-base rate, six homers, and 32 RBIs. He hosts a 22% strikeout rate and 14.7% walkout rate, but his lack of power has been a disappointing reality for the Yankees. After smashing 27 homers back in 2018, Hicks was never able to rejuvenate his slugging capabilities, coming off a wrist injury last season.
In addition, Cashman acquired Harrison Bader from the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for Jordan Montgomery with just moments left at the deadline. Bader is a premium defensive centerfielder, which clearly takes Hicks out of the equation.
With Andrew Benintendi featuring in left field and Aaron Judge cemented in right field, Bader’s return will send Hicks to the bench permanently, especially since his offensive production has been so streaky.
Hicks is batting .173 with men in scoring position this season and. 191 with runners on base; there was no choice but for Boone to look elsewhere. At this point, Cashman will undoubtedly be looking to offload his contract come the winter months, but it would likely have to be part of a more comprehensive deal.