The New York Yankees hold a slim 3.5-game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East, meaning that inconsistencies and failures cannot be tolerated at this point in time. That is why manager Aaron Boone decided to pull struggling outfielder Aaron Hicks in the middle of Friday night’s game against Tampa.
“I got benched during the game. That’s rough,” said Hicks, who also struck out in his only two at-bats. “Especially when all you want to do is produce for your team.
Hicks made two unimaginably bad plays in the outfield, allowing a ball to go over his head and dropping one down the left field line, even pausing before realizing the ball fell in fair territory.
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The collapse of Aaron Hicks has been awful to watch for the Yankees:
This season, Hicks has been extremely inconsistent, hitting .211 with a 32.6% on-base rate, six homers, and 36 RBIs. He also features a 22.8% strikeout rate and 14% walk rate — he’s been virtually useless over the past few weeks. Hicks has earned an 85 wRC+, indicating he’s 15% worse than the average MLB player.
However, when looking at his August stats, you see a demoralized man who has lost all sense of confidence. Over 51 at-bats last month, he recorded a .137 average with a 22.4% on-base rate. So far in September, he’s posted a .125 BA with a 16% on-base rate over 24 at-bats.
If not for the fact that Hicks is still in the middle of a seven-year, $70 million deal, the Yankees might’ve designated him for assignment already. The 32-year-old still has three seasons left on his deal before a club option that includes a $1 million buy-out in 2026.
As the Bombers still eye the post-season, there’s no chance they can utilize Hicks as an everyday player let alone a reserve if he continues to play at this level.
In fact, manager Aaron Boone was quite clear that he needed to be pulled after a few disappointing results.
“I just felt like I needed to get him out of there at that point, so it was just the decision I made at that point,” manager Aaron Boone told reporters after the game.
“The second one [the Arozarena hit] is a really tough one. And the first one [the Franco hit] I thought he got a pretty good jump on and ran it down. Yeah, it’s disappointment. There’s a level of feeling for him there. I just felt like at that time I needed to make the change.”