The Yankees have their work cut out for them this offseason, and it’s because of these previous moves.
The New York Yankees are bringing Zack Britton back (woo!), but there’s still a lot of work to be done, and it couldn’t come at a worse time due to the global pandemic, which is going to limit the spending across Major League Baseball as long as fans aren’t guaranteed in the stands come 2021 before the season starts.
Yankees fans thought that Britton might not be back because the team exercising his 2022 option meant he was locked in to a two-year $27 million deal, but a tweet from the left-hander on Thursday solidified his return.
Now, what about DJ LeMahieu? Masahiro Tanaka? James Paxton? Brett Gardner? We don’t know. And we can attribute that to a few premature decisions over the last few years. While we wouldn’t exactly fault general manager Brian Cashman for making these, we do have questions as to why they were made based on what we’ve seen ever since.
3. Signing Aaron Hicks to 7-Year Extension
Did the Yankees really need to sign Aaron Hicks for almost a decade?
In February of 2019, the Yankees surprised fans a bit when they announced a seven-year, $70 million contract agreement with slugger Aaron Hicks. Yankees fans no doubt like Hicks, especially since he was acquired for John Ryan Murphy, but did the front office really need to sign him on for the better part of a decade?
Hicks gets on base a ton, which we no doubt love, but he had only played in 348 games from 2016-2018 with the Yanks. Perhaps his 2018 campaign swayed the front office. After all, he clubbed 25 homers and sported an .833 OPS in his first season playing more than 123 games. He finished 22nd in the MVP voting as well.
But they gave him that deal when he was entering his age-29 season, which ended up being a disaster. He was limited to just 59 games and had to undergo Tommy John surgery. He undoubtedly has a good glove, but his arm isn’t exactly a cannon and he doesn’t make a whole lot of contact (he’s a career .235 hitter).
We wouldn’t say the Yankees are hamstrung by this contract, but it’s costing them $10 million per season for quite a while.