Was Aaron Hicks' embrace with Orioles manager a sign of Yankees problems?

Los Angeles Angels v Los Angeles Dodgers
Los Angeles Angels v Los Angeles Dodgers / Harry How/GettyImages

New York Yankees fans understandably might have missed this last week while the team was putting the Houston Astros in their place, but there was something to take note of during the Baltimore Orioles' Opening Day ceremonies.

Former Yankees outfielder Aaron Hicks was in town as a visiting member of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The O's opted not to re-sign Hicks, who is now getting regular playing time as opposed to having his role threatened by a wave of Baltimore's top young prospects. Plus, he's a California guy. The move made sense for many reasons.

Prior to the start of the Opening Day matchup between the two teams, Orioles manager Brandon Hyde sought out Hicks and gave him a warm embrace. Beautiful stuff. It's nice to see guys being dudes in this manner.

But Yankees fans (at least some of us) unfortunately couldn't help but express wariness. Hicks? The same guy who seemingly fully gave up in New York quickly became a favorite of one of the most hard-nosed managers in the game after spending just 65 games under his watch?

Is this a reflection on the Yankees and how they operated/treated Hicks? Was Hicks' showing in Baltimore just anomaly in terms of performance and personality shift? Or was Hicks in New York just never meant to be?

Was Aaron Hicks' embrace with Orioles manager a sign of Yankees problems?

Did anyone catch Aaron Boone embracing Hicks when he returned to the Bronx over July 4 weekend? Was that even ever the "vibe" between the two parties? Hicks' unfortunate Yankees tenure ended in disappointment, but it wasn't always a disaster.

Boone managed Hicks from 2018-2023 in what amounted to something approximating five seasons. Boone is regarded as a players' manager. There's no well-documented information of the two having a pleasurable relationship. Yet Hicks might have one with Hyde, who he knew for five months?

Yankees fans have long wondered if something was "off" in the clubhouse, especially from 2021-2023 when guys like Hicks, Gary Sánchez, Josh Donaldson, Joey Gallo, Clint Frazier, Aroldis Chapman and Domingo Germán were occupying roster spots. It wasn't exactly a crew that was driving forward team chemistry.

Some of it was on the players, without a doubt. The Yankees imported the wrong personalities and imperfect fits that led to lackluster play based on what was expected of them.

But we can't help put some of the blame on the organization and leadership after seeing how Hicks and Hyde handled themselves last week. Very rarely do we see that kind of emotion from the Yankees, and it's possible Hicks was further ostracized as his production continued to crater, which certainly holds some weight after he called out the team after just three games at the start of the 2023 season.