Aaron Hicks further digging his grave with Yankees after latest comments
Have New York Yankees fans been unfair to Aaron Hicks? Sure. We said it after he was booed at Spring Training. We said it after he was booed during Opening Day introductions. But has the man done himself any favors? We also can't say that's been the case.
Hicks, at the moment, is the most disliked Yankee among the fanbase, and a good amount of that ire should be directed toward general manager Brian Cashman, who signed the outfielder to a seven-year, $70 million contract despite knowing his injury history and lack of a consistent, impressive MLB track record.
It's not Hicks' fault for taking the money! It's also not his fault he can't stay healthy. This is sometimes the way it goes, and it's unfortunate.
But you know what is Hicks' fault? His body language. What he says. How he conducts himself. His play! And since the start of last season when he claimed he was looking to go 30-30, it's been a masterclass on how to alienate yourself, sadly.
Everyone remembers his defensive gaffe against the Rays last year. And his low-energy commentary stating, “If I’m a guy that’s in the lineup, cool. If I’m not, it is what it is.” And when he complained about inconsistent playing time at the end of the season when he failed to deliver for much of the 2022 campaign up until that point. Now, we give you Part IV.
Yankees' Aaron Hicks further digging his grave with latest comments
Hat tip to Brendan Kuty of The Athletic (subscription required), who somehow got these quotes before Sunday's series finale against the Giants and ran them during the game.
Hicks has gotten one at-bat in the team's first three games. He struck out in that one opportunity (thanks, in part, to shoddy upiring). Should that seal his fate? Not at all. Should he be complaining about playing time from the jump when Oswaldo Cabrera outperformed him in Spring Training and as the Yankees look to explore new ways to utilize Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who got the start in center field on Sunday? Absolutely not.
There's no telling what the Yankees have in store for Hicks. Manager Aaron Boone has reiterated the outfield rotation comes down to performance. Cabrera's earned that with his play since last August. IKF, who's also been disturbingly abused by Yankees fans, has volunteered to expand his role and do whatever is required for the team to win.
Hicks? Though we can't fault him for feeling a certain way after being mistreated by fans even when he's not part of the equation, he has to know that repeatedly putting a target on his back with this kind of dialogue is absolutely the wrong thing to do.
At this point, even with the Yankees' poor communication being a well-known factor in their relationship with players, how does Hicks not know where he stands on the depth chart? Shouldn't that be the main takeaway here? Even if nobody said a word to him, somebody with a shred of self-awareness would think, "Man, I really haven't been good." Of course Hicks wants to play! Nobody wants to be sitting on the bench. But wanting to play and deserving to play are two very different things.
Maybe Boone will change his mind about putting Hicks in the lineup for the upcoming series against the Phillies after hearing what the outfielder had to say on Day 4 of the regular season? Based on how the Yankees have finally started doing the unthinkable by rewarding good output/behavior and punishing bad output/behavior, perhaps there's a response to this negative media nobody needed at the onset of a new year.