“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” That phrase is attributed to Albert Einstein, but it can be perfectly applied to the 2023 New York Yankees and their left-field plans.
Despite the fact he hasn’t been an above-average hitter over a full season since 2018, Yankees’ general manager Brian Cashman thinks Hicks is the favorite to start the year as the regular left fielder.
“I suspect he will be the guy that emerges [in left field] because he is still really talented, and everything is there,” Cashman said Sunday on SiriusXM MLB Network Radio. “Hopefully we can get the Aaron Hicks we know is in there back as a consistent player for us.”
That’s a disappointing remark for Yankees fans that watched Hicks struggle all year in 2022 (and 2021). It’s another sign that the front office cannot learn from its mistakes, as Oswaldo Cabrera would definitely be a better option.
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The Yankees are better off with Cabrera as their left fielder
Hicks had a 90 wRC+ in 453 plate appearances this past season, with just eight home runs. While his on-base ability is still an asset (.330 OBP despite a .216 batting average), his power has completely disappeared, as he had a horrible .313 slugging percentage and a .096 ISO.
Cabrera, on the other hand, showed in 2022 that his bat is legit. He had a 111 wRC+ and six homers in just 171 trips to the plate, good for a .182 ISO. If the Yankees don’t sign Jurickson Profar or trade for Bryan Reynolds, Cabrera is by far the best internal candidate to man left field.
Hopefully, the Yankees come to their senses and give the kid a legit opportunity to fight for the starting left-field gig in spring training. Hicks deserves a shot, too, but it would be a mistake to name him the starter without giving Cabrera a chance.