Yankees: Is Their Love Affair With Aaron Hicks Due To Break Up

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

The Yankees seem to have a love affair going on with Aaron Hicks. And for the life of me, I could never figure out why. Until now. Almost.

The Yankees executed a trade in November 2015 that sent reserve catcher John Ryan Murphy to the Minnesota Twins in exchange for outfielder Aaron Hicks. At the time, the deal was widely hailed as a steal by the Yankees, and the team played it up big.

In January 2016, Joe Girardi gushed about having Hicks available as his fourth outfielder telling NJ.Com:

"“That’s one of the things that I thought long and hard about during this offseason,” Girardi said of having a solid bench. “That’s why I think [about] the importance of [Aaron] Hicks."

Girardi held up his end of the bargain playing Hicks in three-quarters of the team’s games and sending him up to bat 361 times. Hicks, however, fell far short of holding up his end managing only a .217 BA with a paltry eight home runs and 38 RBI.

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Still, the organization kept the faith this spring by announcing that Hicks was in direct competition with Aaron Judge for the right field job. The translation read that it was Hick’s job to lose.

At the moment, the team’s faith in Hicks in finally being rewarded this spring with numbers that support those belonging to a major league outfielder. In 21 games, Hicks is batting .286 with three home runs and a .375 on-base percentage. Projected out over a full season, he would finish with 25 home runs.

What’s In Play Behind The Scenes, Though?

The Yankees can thank their lucky stars that Hicks is at least producing credible, though not nearly spectacular, numbers this spring. And they can also hide behind the rather illustrious production that has come from Aaron Judge in the power department (2 HR, 4 RBI).

The real number that’s in play, though, is $1,350,000 which is what the team will pay Hicks in 2017.

And beyond even that is an even stronger factor forcing the team to continue their love affair with Hicks. He has no options left. That is, he can’t be sent to the minors without exposing him to other teams via the waiver wire.

The Yankees don’t throw money or players away. An argument can be made that perhaps they should, especially in a case like the one they have with Hicks. But fans of Judge shouldn’t expect the team to change direction midstream.

Feel The Love Aaron – Produce!

The Yankees could still surprise as no announcement has been made. And it’s entirely possible an announcement is not forthcoming, and Girardi will play both Hicks and Judge, assuming he makes the team, as he sees fit. End of story.

But one fact remains. The team needs a power hitting outfielder in their lineup. There’s little or no power coming from Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury.

Judge would seem to have more potential in the power department. But for some reason, maybe his strikeout total (21) again this spring), the Yankees don’t seem comfortable with Judge.

In any event, though, it’s high time for Hicks to give some of that love back to the Yankees.