If the Yankees want to make any additional moves this off-season, offloading some bad contracts is a priority. It is no secret the general manager Brian Cashman has been trying to offload Josh Donaldson for months now, at the very least saving a portion of his salary and allocating it toward another position.
However, Aaron Hicks has also been included as a potential departure, which makes sense since he has about three years and $30 million remaining on his contract. He’s set to earn $10.5 million for the 2023 season at 33 years old, a lofty price tag, given the dramatic fall-off he experienced after the 2018 season.
Last year, Hicks played in 130 games, hitting .216 with a .330 OBP, eight homers, and 40 RBIs. He hosted a 24.1% strikeout rate and 13.7% walk rate, including a 90 wRC+ and 1.5 WAR. Surprisingly, even his Steamer projections have him averaging out a lackluster slash-line.
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The Yankees should trade Aaron Hicks instantly if they find a partner:
Ideally, the Yankees could find a trade partner for Hicks, offloading his deal and utilizing that additional cash on a free agent like Jurickson Profar. While Profar doesn’t move the needle significantly, he can provide more offensive fire-power, which is exactly what the Yankees need in left field, including the potential for 20+ homers.
Nonetheless, saving the entire $10.5 million is a difficult task unless the Yankees are willing to offload a few fringe prospects to get the deal done. A starting-level outfielder at his price point isn’t necessarily a bad deal, it’s just the fact Hicks will be 36 when the contract expires, and he’s already hit a statistical wall.
Despite the lack of confidence from the fans, Cashman has been instilling his faith in Hicks all off-season. Rumors and reports have indicated that Hicks was/is on the chopping block; Cashman stood by his guy, which is a usual move for the veteran GM. Boosting his stock and speaking highly of his qualities can sometimes sway opposing general managers to make an acquisition, but it is easier said than done.
Ever since Hicks experienced a wrist injury in 2021, his power metrics have fallen off, recording his worst hard-hit percentage since 2017 at 33.1%. His exit velocity has dropped, and his barrel rate plummeted to 5.8%, his worst since 2016.
Management is praying that both Donaldson and Hicks turn things around this upcoming year, but if they stumble upon a potential suitor to take on their bloated contrast, it’s safe to say Cashman wouldn’t hesitate to make a deal.