It’s unknown if the New York Yankees could’ve acquired Ketel Marte via trade from the Arizona Diamondbacks, but, even if they couldn’t, his new contract extension with the team further speaks to the Bombers’ personnel issues.
Long rumored to be a trade candidate, as the D-Backs have spectacularly fallen from grace, fans have lobbied for the Yankees to inquire given his multi-tool potential. Marte, 28, is a versatile defender, contact/power bat, and offers a version of athleticism the Yankees didn’t exactly possess in 2020 and 2021.
But now, Marte will remain in Arizona on a five-year, $76 million extension, which will pay him an average annual value of $15.2 million per year. That’s some serious value for a guy who can play above-average defense at second base, shortstop and center field.
So, on top of not trading for Marte (regardless of the cost) and taking on the $26.4 million owed to him through 2024, the Yankees watched the D-Backs sign a better, more versatile version of Aaron Hicks for essentially the same price.
Back in 2018, Hicks delivered a career season in his first (and only) year playing in more than 123 games. That showing featured 137 games with a .248 average, .833 OPS, 90 runs scored, 27 homers, 79 RBI and 90 walks.
Right before the start of the 2019 campaign, Hicks was signed to a seven-year, $70 million contract. Since then, he’s played in just 145 games and has been as unproductive as you can imagine.
The Yankees could’ve traded for Ketel Marte … or not signed Aaron Hicks
Would you rather a $10 million AAV for Hicks or a $14 million AAV for Marte? That answer is fairly clear. You might not think we can compare these two, but oh, we can. Look at this production since Hicks joined New York and Marte joined Arizona (after coming over in a trade from the Mariners):
- Hicks – .237 average, .766 OPS, 258 runs scored, 72 home runs, 233 RBI and 29 stolen bases in 493 games
- Marte – .295 average, .853 OPS, 266 runs scored, 67 home runs, 236 RBI and 22 stolen bases in 505 games
It’s important to note that Marte also didn’t even discover his power stroke until the 2018 season. He’s also played in those 505 games across five seasons whereas Hicks’ 493 came across six.
At the very least, the Yankees really misjudged the market on Hicks and could’ve upgraded in a multitude of other ways instead of selling themselves on somebody’s career age-28 season that didn’t even feature 50 extra-base hits.
And here the New York media is, trying to fool us that Hicks’ ceiling is a 30-30 season in his age-32 campaign. We’d love to be wrong for laughing at that ambitious best-case scenario projection … but it’s just probably not going to happen.
The jury’s largely been out on Hicks for a long time — and arguably still is — while Marte’s is fairly set in stone and there’s really no questioning his new price tag outside of his ability to stay healthy. All in all, another blemish to add to the Yankees’ long list of personnel failures in recent years.