If he doesn’t need surgery now, will he soon? For either his troublesome wrist, or something else entirely? Probably! Who can say? Quite likely!
If the Yankees had a salary cap to deal with, Hicks’ extension would be looking more disastrous by the day.
Luckily, they do not. Whew. Glad Hal Steinbrenner didn’t artificially impose an unofficial cap. That would stink.
On Friday afternoon, the Yankees were dealt a blow of uncertainty when Hicks’ MRI came back unclean, but the team remained unsure to what extent. Hicks could be sidelined for the rest of the season following a surgical procedure — that’s what happened to Mark Teixeira in 2013.
Hicks could also be fine after a cortisone shot and a few days of rest — that’s what happened to…well, also Mark Teixeira, who suffered a lesser version of the same sheath tear at the start of the 2009 season and healed right up/nearly won the MVP.
Bottom line, here’s a thing that isn’t gonna cut it, any way you slice it.
Whether Hicks misses a week, a month, or a year, that is not going to cut it for a supposed contender.
The only outfielder on the 40-man roster who isn’t currently playing for the Yankees or waiting around on their bench is Estevan Florial, and odds are low he’ll be the one promoted.
Let’s tackle all the possible options here, from internal refurbishments to (cheap) trade options.
These 3 options could replace Aaron Hicks in the Yankees outfield.
3. Estevan Florial Comes Up…or the Yankees Add an OF to 40-Man?
Remember Mike Tauchman? He would’ve been the slam-dunk answer to this question a month ago.
Now, the Yankees are left either inserting Tyler Wade into the outfield (nah!), promoting Florial (eh?), or sacrificing some pitching depth to add another outfielder to the roster.
Florial has played 10 professional games above the High-A level; one of them came last year in MLB with the Yankees in Game 1 of a doubleheader against the Mets, and the other nine just occurred with Double-A Somerset.
It’s no great coincidence that Florial’s hot start earned him a promotion to Triple-A earlier in the day on Friday. Four homers, lower strikeout numbers, and a glaring need at the MLB level will lead to something like that. The odds he’s the permanent solution here strike us somewhere between 15-20%.
The rest of the team’s minor-league outfield depth is even less likely to help, though there’s a chance they remove someone like Brooks Kriske or Albert Abreu from the 40-man (or try to unload them in some sort of small trade?) and add a veteran outfielder like Trey Amburgey to the big club.
We doubt that’s top of mind for the Yankees, especially after spending all offseason protecting these particular pitchers in favor of Garrett Whitlock and company. A month of injuries probably won’t change that calculus.