The New York Yankees left field situation, you’ve heard all about it. We’re sure it’ll be a topic on Joe Rogan’s podcast soon. Because what’s more riveting than talking about three underwhelming options to round off a potential championship roster?
All we ask is that general manager Brian Cashman stays quiet on the topic, because every time he opens his mouth everything gets worse.
Over the weekend, he spoke to the media and the left field “vacancy” was broached due to the ongoing reports about the Yankees’ unwillingness to exceed the final $293 million luxury tax threshold. If that’s the case, there will be no additions unless New York can offload a salary in excess of ~$10 million, most likely.
Cashman, however, is either operating in secrecy as he tries to move somebody, or he’s deadly serious about everyone’s worst nightmare: Aaron Hicks being the Opening Day starter.
On SiriusXM MLB Network Radio, Cashman elaborated upon his stance, and there’s no way this will sit well with Yankees fans, who have been fed up watching Hicks/hearing about his injury issues for FOUR full years now. Give it a rest.
Brian Cashman thinks Aaron Hicks will be the Yankees’ starting left fielder
"“I suspect he will be the guy that emerges [in left field] because he is still really talented and everything is there. Hopefully we can get the Aaron Hicks we know is in there back as a consistent player for us.”"
Still holding out hope for that “potential” that was put on display one (1) time in his entire 10-year career. That came in 2018, Hicks’ first “full” season (137) games, which prompted Cashman to hurl $70 million at him. In 870 career games, Hicks is hitting .231 with a .717 OPS and 96 OPS+. He’s been good for a 1.8 dWAR as well, which is unimpressive for what’s been expected of him (or, at least, what Cashman and the Yankees saw in him). And he’s only getting older!
What’s even more jarring is that Cashman said Hicks is fully healed from the knee injury he suffered in the ALDS against the Guardians. Hey, that’s good news! But while there are a number of Yankees already getting to work at the team’s complex in Tampa, Hicks has been on vacation despite having the most to prove out of anybody that was present.
This is the same guy who said, “If I’m a guy that’s in the lineup, cool. If I’m not, it is what it is.” This is the same guy who gave up on a play in the outfield against the Rays and got berated by the crowd so badly that manager Aaron Boone had to bench him and then limit his playing time at Yankee Stadium down the stretch.
Hicks can do whatever he wants in the offseason. But it’s not a good look when the Yankees’ GM is hyping him up as someone who could return to form and be a starter while the 33-year-old is vacationing three months into the offseason instead of working to get back on track following a career-worst season (in which he’s played at least 100 games).
And even if he was working at the team’s facility at this juncture, what has given Cashman any indication that Hicks could even come close to his 2017-2018 production? Nothing. It’s just the worst PR tour imaginable.