Yankees: 3 players who could be dealt in salary dump trades

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Aaron Hicks #31 of the New York Yankees (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

2. Aaron Hicks

How much patience do the Yankees have for Aaron Hicks?

You won’t see a similar center fielder to Aaron Hicks hit the free agent market in the near future.

But you also … might not see Aaron Hicks for more than 110 games per year.

The Yankees certainly won’t entertain a midseason trade for their starting CF and the only switch-hitter in the everyday lineup, but Hicks is under nearly as much pressure as Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton to play 140+ games in 2021 to prove his value to a team that continues to preach cost-cutting.

We’ve detailed it before, but it remains laughably frustrating that the Yankees, who never extend their own players ahead of schedule the way teams like the Rays do, tried it twice in one offseason with Hicks and Luis Severino, only to watch both immediately battle the injury bug and leave the field.

Hicks looked impressive in his return from Tommy John surgery in 2020 (and played through the significant elbow injury to sock a three-run homer off Justin Verlander in the 2019 ALCS), OBPing .379 in 54 games. He’s also under team control through (gasp) 2025, with a team option for 2026 at nearly $11 million annually.

Surely, if the Yankees intend to be frugal again next offseason — or want to squeeze out some payroll responsibilities in favor of Noah Syndergaard or Max Scherzer — they could find an eager taker for the uniquely skilled Hicks. We’d rather they simply keep him and pay for pitching, though. Doing both could be nice.