If the New York Yankees want to continue spending after extending Aaron Judge, they need to find ways to clear salary space off the books. Josh Donaldson and Aaron Hicks present the best opportunity to do that, but recouping their entire financial commitment is a bit optimistic and lofty for general manager Brian Cashman.
The more likely scenario is that Cashman looks to trade a prospect along with the player to clear a bit of salary space, but he likely won’t be able to get much back in return to help continue adding free-agent pieces.
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Mock trade between the Yankees and White Sox revolving around Aaron Hicks:
-Recouped salary from Aaron Hicks
In this deal, the White Sox give the Yanks $9 million over three years for the remainder of Hicks’s contract. He is owed about $30 million with a $12.5 million club option 2026, which will undoubtedly be declined.
Even saving $3 million per year over the next three seasons allows the Yankees to add a decent bullpen arm, at the very least.
-Player to Be Named Later or Cash Considerations
Adding just salary space would be enough for the Bombers, but the White Sox are willing to give them some cash considerations or a player to be named later. Normally, this variable doesn’t equate to much, but any add-ons are good for the Yankees.
White Sox receive:
-Aaron Hicks (3 years, $21 million)
The 33-year-old outfielder can serve as a valuable depth piece with a switch-hitting bat. He hit just .216 with a 33% on-base rate this past season, including eight homers and 40 RBIs, but starting anew could be exactly what Hicks needs to rejuvenate his career. He still has plenty of time left to return to his old offensive production numbers, but we haven’t seen a good version of him since 2020 during the Covid abbreviated season.
In addition to salary space, the Bombers also give up prospect Elijah Dunham. The 24-year-old featured with Double-A Somerset last season, hitting .248 with a 35% on-base rate, 17 homers, and 63 RBIs. Given he’s a bit older and hasn’t made the transition to Scranton in Triple-A yet, the Yankees feel as though they can capitalize on his value and recoup some salary space in the process.
Dunham was a likely trade piece anyway since the team will most definitely commit to Jasson Dominguez as a future solution in the outfield.