Prior to the 2019 season, the Yanks broke their extension code and negotiated out long-term deals well before free agency with two players they didn’t think they could easily replace in Hicks and Luis Severino.
Bizarrely, both men got Tommy John surgery the very next offseason, bizarre mostly because Hicks is not a pitcher.
Casual reminder that the Yankees were somehow saddled with two position player TJs in the past two years. That just doesn’t happen. But we digress.
Any Hicks trade would come with a significant amount of eaten cash; he’s locked down through 2025 with a mutual option for 2026, and is halfway to 32 years old.
The money isn’t the problem. He’s on a relative bargain $10 million/per contract. The length is the issue.
For some reason, it was en vogue that offseason to mention how few great free agent center fielders were on the horizon. That line of thinking discounted the Yankees’ player development arm (rightfully so, probably!), as well as the idea that perhaps the team had already seen the best from Hicks.
And speaking of a team that could use more out of the center field spot, the Phillies have received three hits from the position in total. To Philadelphia, a struggling Hicks might look like an oasis in the desert.
If the Yankees and Phils can figure out a way to split the cash relatively fairly, this deal could work.
This Yankees-Phillies Aaron Hicks trade could work.
In the above example, we’ve gone for upside in the Yankees’ favor, handing them a controllable 26-year-old reliever in Connor Brogdon who’s whiffed seven in 6.2 shutout innings thus far this season. However, it’s just his second big league cameo, hardly enough rope to judge a career upon.
Casey Martin, the shortstop out of Arkansas who was selected in the 2020 MLB Draft, is Philly’s No. 7 prospect, though he’s blocked at short by both Didi Gregorius (short-term) and Bryson Stott, the team’s No. 3 prospect, in the long run.
Of course, in order to get a Golden Spikes Watchlist speedy infielder and a top reliever for Hicks right now, the Yankees would have to foot a good portion of the bill. We’d say…50% per year? 60%? If they’re unwilling to harbor that much financial burden ($6 million? Come on, guys.), then Hicks’ ceiling in trade might only be a No. 10-12 prospect and a back-end depth piece.
This isn’t about a lack of faith in Hicks the player, who has proven us wrong before. It’s about a potential long-term snag in the Yankees’ plans that already has so much capital and equity tied up in so many roadblocks (Giancarlo Stanton can no longer play the field, and it’s an issue).
Eventually, Hicks will need to move off center field for Jasson Dominguez, right? Perhaps even Estevan Florial, still just 23 with all the upside in the world, deserves to split reps with Brett Gardner?
Hicks’ ride in New York might not be over, but the regression could also be only just beginning. Perhaps the surgery threw his equilibrium off more than we expected. If things get worse before they get better, don’t count out the NL team made up of former Yankees with a glaring center field vacancy.