Aaron Hicks, statistically, has been one of the worst players in Major League Baseball, and has largely played a role in dragging down the 2022 New York Yankees outside of an above-average 30-game stretch earlier in the year.
It all came to a head a little over a week ago on Derek Jeter Hall of Fame night when Hicks made two gaffes in left field, one of which was beyond unacceptable. Charging in on a line drive into the corner, Hicks had the ball land in his glove, but he dropped it. Not only did he drop it, but he did so in fair territory without realizing it. He stood there for a couple of seconds thinking it was a dead ball because he was upset with himself, and that allowed two runs to score.
On the very next play, Hicks got turned around on a scorching line drive off the bat of Randy Arozarena. Admittedly, it was a tougher play, but the damage had already been done. Any slight infraction Hicks made after his low-energy mishap the play before was going to be ridiculed to the max. Arozarena’s “double” scored another run to make it 4-0 … when it should’ve been 1-0.
Manager Aaron Boone pulled Hicks from the game shortly after because a) he deserved it and b) the crowd was being particularly harsh. Ever since, Hicks has only been logging reps on the road, as it’s clear Boone does not want him taking the field at Yankee Stadium. Is it a solution? Maybe! Hicks is 5-for-16 with four runs scored, a homer and an RBI since his awful Sept. 9 showing.
That hasn’t stopped him from pondering his Yankees future, though. Hicks spoke with Dan Martin of the New York Post about the difficult topic over the weekend, but sadly it seems the outfielder just doesn’t “get it.”
Aaron Hicks responded to a question about his future with the Yankees
"“I don’t know. The Yankees are gonna have to make a decision and I’ll wait for whatever happens. It’s not really my call.”It seems like he’s in a similar boat as former Yankee Joey Gallo, and he’s realized that, but not exactly how you’d expect.“Joey started to play better with the Dodgers and I saw on [a] podcast that [Los Angeles manager] Dave Roberts played a big part of that, with him wanting to get the most out of his players.”“As of right now, I feel the more I play, the better I’m gonna play. That’s not what’s going on right now. Things are tough in New York. I don’t have an answer. If they feel this isn’t the right fit for me, that’s their call. If I do go to another team, I know I can help them win.”"
This guy went from “Have some ‘f–k you'” a few months ago to complaining about his playing time, not being able to handle fan reactions as a result of poor performance, and what seems to be overall disinterest.
Glad Hicks “saw on a podcast” that Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has “helped” Joey Gallo, too. In case Hicks hasn’t seen, Gallo is a smidge better that the version of his Yankees self. In LA, the slugger is hitting .170 with a .686 OPS, 86 OPS+ and 39 strikeouts in 101 plate appearances. The difference is that Dodgers fans can easily fixate their attention on winning, as well as the other players producing for the team on a nightly basis. Apologies that Gallo and Hicks were asked to be just barely above average with the Yankees to help lengthen the lineup. Seems that was too tall of an ask.
Additionally, Hicks indirectly going after Boone here seems insanely misplaced. The comment on his playing time, as well as alluding to Dave Roberts’ practices, seemed to have done just that. Hicks has appeared in 120 games this year. He’s gotten 420 at-bats, which is the second-most of his ENTIRE CAREER. Boone has actually kept him in the lineup despite Hicks giving him every reason not to. Also, Roberts has played Gallo in 32 out of 42 games since he was acquired at the deadline, so … what’s the argument here? More playing time, or playing time that will “get more out of X player”?
Seems like a lot of deflecting and blame-placing akin to Gallo’s situation. Prior to and after his departure, though Gallo admitted fault for his awful play (arguably the worst 500 at-bats in Yankees history), he managed to comment about fan/media criticism and feeling like he was unable to walk the streets of New York, despite citing no evidence that he was ever in any sort of danger or dealt with an unruly fan encounter.
Hicks is now doing the same. Sure, the media/fan backlash never helps, but they’re also not the ones hitting .216 with a .635 OPS/playing inadequate defense as a supporting cast member in a lineup full of All-Stars. Hicks and Gallo were never burdened with anything beyond what they were capable of, but both have for some reason interpreted things differently and further doomed themselves in a place that’s already difficult for most players to merely exist in on a day-to-day basis.