Yankees: Ranking the Best Moves of the 2015-2016 Offseason
Trading John Ryan Murphy to the Minnesota Twins for Aaron Hicks
The main saving grace of this trade is that while Aaron Hicks was undeniably awful in 2016, John Ryan Murphy somehow managed to be even worse, hitting .146/.193/.220 (13 OPS+) in 90 plate appearances for the Twins. He completely collapsed this year after a solid campaign in 2015 as the Yanks’ backup catcher.
Hicks spent the year as the fourth outfielder, but got a ton of playing time, first because of injuries, and later because of Carlos Beltran being traded at the August 1st deadline. Aside from a solid month of August where Hicks hit .280/.330/.439 in 88 plate appearances as the team’s regular right fielder, he was a disaster at the plate in 2016, finishing with a .217/.281/.336 (68 OPS+) in 361 plate appearances.
Sadly, a hamstring injury kept Hicks out most of September, right when he seemed to be finding his rhythm offensively. While many fans may see this deal as a loss in hindsight because of Hicks’s poor season, it was a smart gamble on the part of Cashman and may yet pay off next year.
If the Yankees trade Brett Gardner this winter, Hicks will probably get first crack at the left field job, at least until Clint Frazier is ready. He’s also probably Aaron Judge‘s safety net in right field if the big man continues to struggle next spring.
I think it says a lot about the job Cashman and the front office are doing when this was probably their least successful swap of last offseason, and it is still one I’m a big fan of and would make again in a second.