After a somewhat strong start in April, New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Hicks has regressed to the point where he doesn’t even look like an MLB player. His plate discipline can’t make up for anemic power numbers, poor clutch hitting, and lackluster defensive play.
Hicks put together his worst moment of the season in the Yankees’ defeat against the rival Tampa Bay Rays, who have eyes on taking the division away from New York. Hicks was not only poor at the dish once again, but he dropped a fly ball in left field. He compounded this mistake by not picking it up for a few seconds, thinking it was foul.
Ruining Frankie Montas’ start and showing minimal awareness in the field, Hicks was subjected to “Joey Gallo” chants from disgruntled fans. Hicks has now officially taken the crown of most reviled Yankee outfielder away from the three true outcome king. His time in New York is speeding towards an end.
With Hicks boasting a .211 average, an 81 OPS+ despite walking constantly, and no home runs in over two months, his horrid defensive effort is leading many Yankee fans to ask for his unconditional release. Unfortunately, the Yankees may not have the wiggle room to drop him so quickly.
Will the Yankees release Aaron Hicks?
Hicks is under contract until the 2025 season, as his guaranteed extension means that he is owed over $40 million in that span. Even for a team that is willing to splash the cash in the Yankees, that’s quite a heavy financial burden to bear to get him off the team.
The most reasonable way for the Yankees to offload Hicks is to find some sucker in the trade market who thinks they have the tools needed to make him click. Given his age, mounting injury history, and willingness to go months at a time without an extra-base hit, it’s clear he’s a declining asset.
The Yankees may have stumbled at the trade deadline, but they have added enough talent to where Hicks will not take any meaningful at-bats if they make it to the postseason. His decline has been sad to see, but last night confirmed there is zero chance of him returning in 2023.
Fans, just grit your teeth and bear these last few weeks of No. 31 in pinstripes. While a release in the immediate aftermath of that horror show is not plausible, it confirmed that Hicks has become such an anchor on this franchise that a restart elsewhere is necessary.