2. A Creative Center Field Backup Plan
Hey, maybe it’s Story! Maybe it’s Joey Gallo, with Giancarlo Stanton in left field more often (and a returning Luke Voit in the DH spot?). Maybe it’s Kevin Pillar. Maybe it’s Seiya Suzuki, who New York had interest in prior to the lockout (as well as several other AL East rivals). Maybe it’s Bryan freaking Reynolds.
Whatever the Yankees are planning, their 160-game starting center fielder cannot be Aaron Hicks, who hasn’t proven to be an effective enough player in recent years to get that much leeway when it comes to anticipating his injuries.
We’d love to resolve the catcher position for our bedraggled team, too, but that ship seems to have sailed, unless the Minnesota Twins want to talk about a Mitch Garver Hail Mary. Gary Sánchez’s backup or caddy options have dissolved over the course of this offseason, from Tucker Barnhart at minute one after free agency opened to Jacob Stallings a few weeks back (and he was almost a Red Sox!).
So, up the middle, only shortstop and center are spots where the Yankees could theoretically upgrade in a way that could push them over the edge.
Hicks is an MLB player when healthy and a previously-beloved Yankee. He cannot, though, be counted on to shoulder the load after missing the vast majority of the 2021 season and aging a year away from the field. He can play, but he can’t be the last line of defense. This has to be figured out when the transaction freeze is over.