As one of the most successful franchises in baseball, the New York Yankees have a rich history of top-tier talent on the field. However, recent performances by Aaron Hicks, Franchy Cordero, and Isiah Kiner-Falefa have left many fans and critics questioning whether these players deserve their spots on the 26-man roster.
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Here are several reasons the Yankees should consider benching all three:
All three players have shown flashes of brilliance on the field, but their inconsistent performances have cost the Yankees crucial games. Aaron Hicks, once a reliable outfielder, has been plagued by injuries and struggles at the plate. Franchy Cordero’s offensive potential has been overshadowed by a high strikeout rate and fielding errors, while Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s batting average has taken a nosedive compared to his earlier years.
Statistically speaking, Hicks currently ranks in the 21st percentile in max exit velocity, hitting a putrid .107 with a .194 OBP and .301 OPS across 28 at-bats. Unfortunately, Hicks has become a liability offensively, and the Yankees still owe him $10.5 million for the 2023 season. There’s an argument to make that eating his salary and utilizing one of their young prospects, notably Elijah Dunham, could be a more beneficial move. However, it would be ideal if the Yankees could find a way to offload his salary since they still owe him for the next two seasons.
Conversely, Cordero ranks in the 95th percentile regarding his max exit velocity, but he’s hitting just .174 with a .208 OBP and .665 OPS. He has posted four homers with 11 RBIs but hasn’t recorded a hit in seven games and hasn’t gotten on base in that timeframe either. Some are calling it the “Franchy” week, in which he looked electric, hitting several home runs before going cold in the batter’s box.
IKF has been just as bad, recording a .176 average with a .243 OBP and .419 OPS. He has six hits across 34 at-bats with a 10th percentile max exit velocity. The 28-year-old is being tossed out in centerfield these days, which is a testament to the lack of depth at the position for the Yankees.
Defense is an essential aspect of any winning baseball team. Unfortunately, both Hicks and Cordero have had their share of defensive errors, resulting in costly errors and runs allowed. Kiner-Falefa, primarily an infielder, has been serviceable, but utilizing him in the outfield presents a much larger problem.
Hindered team development:
The Yankees have a wealth of talented prospects waiting for their chance to shine. By continuing to play Hicks, Cordero, and Kiner-Falefa, the team may be stunting the growth of future stars who could contribute significantly to the team’s success. Benching these players would allow younger, more promising athletes to gain valuable experience and develop their skills at the major league level.
When it comes to the three outfielders, Elijah Dunham seems to be a perfect player to earn an opportunity, starting his Triple-A season hot. Across 18 games and 79 plate appearances, Dunham is hitting .257 with a .342 OBP, hitting one homer with three RBIs. He’s been producing extra-base hits, seeing a bit of reduction regarding his power after hitting 17 homers in Double-A last year. Hosting a 20.3% strikeout rate and 11.4% walk rate, the 24-year-old prospect seems primed to make the transition to the MLB.
Poor plate discipline:
Hicks and Cordero have struggled with plate discipline, resulting in high strikeout rates and low on-base percentages. This limits their contributions and puts added pressure on the rest of the lineup to produce offensively.
The Yankees are known for having one of the highest payrolls in the league, and keeping underperforming players on the roster can be a significant financial burden. By reallocating resources to players producing on the field, the Yankees can maintain their commitment to excellence while efficiently using their budget.
Hicks and IKF are making a combined $16.5 million this season, whereas Cordero is making a small amount and can quickly be dropped. Trading Hicks and IKF would be the ideal course of events, but the Yankees need them to hit a hot streak before another team is even willing to bite.