2. Aaron Hicks
The Yankees never sign players to contract extensions. Never. “Company policy.” Can we get human resources in here for unfair treatment? Oh, wait … they recently broke protocol there and paid a few guys? That’s great! Well, the idea was great, but the execution was … disastrous.
One of the players who got an extension was Luis Severino. Four years and $40 million to pitch 18 innings since 2019. Brilliant. The next was Aaron Hicks, who was given an unthinkable seven-year, $70 million extension after he was acquired from the Twins back in 2016 for catcher John Ryan Murphy. Both of these came before the 2019 season.
The crazy part about this was Hicks had a well-documented injury history and the Yankees decided to give him all that money after his LONE full, productive campaign in 2018. Ever since, he’s played in 145 of a possible 384 games, and his last 86 games played all came while he was dealing with a troubling wrist ailment that eventually needed surgery. So he pretty much hasn’t been healthy ever since signing that extension.
But his importance to the team is still obvious. He’s a switch-hitting center fielder. The Yankees needed his lefty bat to balance out the lineup in addition to his athleticism and arm in center field to avoid having Brett Gardner play in 140 games per year. We know, it’s been said countless times that he cannot be the Opening Day starting center fielder. But who else is there?! There’s nobody.
If Hicks can work some walks, cover decent ground in center and hit ~20 home runs, the Yankees will be that much better. And that’s not even asking a lot for what he’s capable of.