Yankees: Why Aaron Hicks’ contract is still team-friendly

Aaron Hicks #31 of the New York Yankees hits a RBI single to right field. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Aaron Hicks #31 of the New York Yankees hits a RBI single to right field. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

The 2019 season was not entirely kind to Yankees outfielder Aaron Hicks. He managed to play in only 59 games after a back injury early on in the season followed by an elbow injury in the waning months of the season.

One positive for Hicks was the seven-year, $70 million contract extension he signed before the start of the season, which keeps him in a Yankee uniform until at least the 2025 season, with a $12.5 million club option for the 2026 season.

Hicks will begin the 2020 season in rehab after Tommy John surgery during the off-season, which will mean his first two years under his extension will mostly be spent on the IL. Even if he can come back once play resumes, he would have missed a good chunk of the season if all games were played.

But he still has plenty of years left to prove that he can live up to his contract. He is a reliable center fielder who has one of the best arms in all of baseball. If he is healthy, he will be playing the field.

Aaron Hicks’ $70 million contract a bargain for Yankees

Offensively, Hicks has never been known to be a hitter for batting average, as he has hit his way to a lifetime .236. One thing that he does very well is work counts deep. In 2018, he drew 90 walks which accounted for 15.4 percent of his at-bats, the sixth highest in the majors.

Being a left-handed batter Hicks also benefits from the short porch at Yankee Stadium, which accelerated him to a career-high 27 home runs and 79 RBI in 2018. Even though he was limited to only 59 games in 2019, he was still able to hit 12 home runs over that short span. Throughout a full season, he would be on pace to hit around 33 homers

If Hicks can play at least 110 games over the next five seasons, be a hitter who can make pitchers work and give them a reliable defender, Brian Cashman and the Yankees will be able to say that the signing worked out well.

The downside to the contract is that if he cannot stay healthy over the next few years the Yankees will be stuck with him. Ideally, the plan is for 17-year-old Jasson Dominguez to command the outfield in three or four years, which may mean that Hicks could be traded or shifted to left field.

Hopefully the elbow injury is the last major setback in Hicks’ career, who has had a history of injuries. If it is, expect him to do great things to help the Yankees win many games.