There are so many problems right now that it’s hard to pinpoint what’s held the Bombers back. Right now, it appears as if general manager Brian Cashman and manager Aaron Boone are returning, so we can rule out any grand infrastructure changes.
It’d be a massive oversight to absolve those two men of any blame, but this roster and the product on the field does perhaps bear a large amount of the responsibility for falling short each of the past two seasons. Though there are obvious issues with the overall roster construction, there’s no excuse for this lineup to have TWO above-average hitters in the 2021 starting lineup (we’re not counting Anthony Rizzo, who was slightly above-average, because he was only here for two months).
That’s right, only Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton registered OPS+ numbers over 100 (the league average). Meanwhile, the Red Sox had SEVEN. The Rays had seven, too. The Blue Jays had six.
We’re constantly having nightmares about the Yankees running this whole operation back one final time in 2022, which very well might happen.
But if Cashman has any sense of urgency, he’ll make significant changes in the coming months and retool the roster by trading an assortment of these four players (or maybe all of them) to usher in a new era in the Bronx … because this one certainly isn’t “it.”
The Yankees should explore trading these four players in the offseason.
4. Aaron Hicks
It’s harsh, but it needs to happen. Hicks is a center fielder who no longer has a cannon of an arm, which has been torn apart by elbow injuries. He’s also proven that his productive years at the plate are more of an outlier than the norm.
Additionally, since arriving in New York back in 2016, Hicks has played in 493 out of a possible 870 games. And somehow he was rewarded with a seven-year contract extension before the 2019 season.
The best thing the Yankees can do is find someone in need of a veteran switch-hitting outfielder at a decent price ($10 million per season through 2025) and eat a portion of the deal. Get whatever you can in return. It doesn’t matter. Hicks is entering his age-32 season, hardly brings any value, and is regressing fast.
Freeing up this money matters the most because we know the Yankees are going to be cheap once again this offseason. If they can create another $7-$10 million in space under the luxury tax, Cashman will have a lot more to work with.