Yankees: Sorry about that Mr. Hicks, I see what Joe was talking about
Yankees outfielder, Aaron Hicks, has gotten his share of attention from Yanks Go Yard since he’s been with the team. Not all of it was good. Mistakes were made. This guy can play baseball.
Yankees outfielder, Aaron Hicks, has been the subject of five stories, by three different writers, over the last three months, that were published by Yanks Go Yard. As you might expect from our team, not everyone agreed on his value to the team. Of significance, though, I was the one on the outside looking in as both of my colleagues saw the light well before I have.
During Spring Training, Cory Claus wrote a piece titled, Four reasons to start Aaron Hicks over Aaron Judge. Well, given where things stand with Judge about now, he may want to take that back. But clearly, Cory saw the value in Hicks for the Yankees.
Later in the month, Mike Calendrillo wrote a story he titled, “Aaron Hicks needs to be the everyday left fielder.” Here again, with the recent resurgence of Brett Gardner, perhaps Mike might have some second thoughts about removing Gardner from the lineup. But clearly, Calendrillo also saw the potential in Hicks.
And then, I chimed in with one titled, “Is the Yankees love affair with Hicks about to end?“. Using quotes from another source, I wondered if there was something “funny” going on between Hicks and Hal Steinbrenner and why Joe Girardi kept insisting that Hicks be given playing time. In sum, the piece was not very flattering of Hicks.
In baseball, all arguments can be settled on the field
One of the beautiful things about baseball is that all arguments about players can be resolved on the field. For example, who’s the greatest Yankee of all time? Bartenders make a living with this one, but all you have to do is pull up the Baseball Reference page for Babe Ruth to see all that solid black that litters the page indicating League Leader, and the argument immediately becomes moot.
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And so it is with Aaron Hicks and what he is doing for the Yankees this season. There’s still no solid black on his page, but there’s also no question as to what his numbers are showing either. In only 78 plate appearances, Hicks has a .355 average with a .468 on-base percentage. He’s knocked in fifteen runs and walked 14 times, with only nine strikeouts. Even Aaron Judge would bang his gavel and say, “Case closed!”
An idea to get Hicks more at-bats
Fourth outfielders can be “regulars” in the lineups of most teams, spelling another who needs a day of rest or filling in for an injured player, as in the case now with Jacoby Ellsbury. But with Judge, Gardner, and Ellsbury all playing well and producing, the challenge for Girardi to get Hicks in there escalates, especially when all three are healthy.
So, I’ve been thinking that Hicks, a gifted athlete, should begin to take some reps at first base as a means to keep him in the lineup on a daily basis. Chris Carter still has no business being on this team, and while he won’t necessarily hurt the team, he’s not going to help them much either.
And with Greg Bird out injured, together with his dreadful start to the season, the Yankees are hard pressed to make any realistic prediction as to what they’ll get out of Bird for the remainder of the year. A short spell at Triple-A before he comes back to the Yankees, even when healthy, might be a good choice for the team to make at this point.
But clearly, if Hicks can handle it, and there’s no apparent reason why he shouldn’t, everybody wins.
Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa
One of the things I learned quickly in doing what I do here is that when you are wrong, please say so. While apologies may not be necessary, there were others who were right about Hicks while I was wrong. It happens.
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The good news, of course, is that I win too by getting to see the results of what Hicks is producing for the Yankees as a quasi-regular in the lineup. As I said before, with baseball, all arguments can be settled on the field.