Whenever you designate a player like Aaron Hicks for assignment, it's best to keep quiet, move on, and act as if nothing really happened. The New York Yankees' move was an all-around loss for every party. Even though the fans wanted it, they never actually wanted it. Would've been great if it had just never happened and Hicks had stayed good.
But here's one of the few appropriate times to elicit the "good old days" with George Steinbrenner. Less than a week after the Yankees finally decided to cut bait on Hicks -- a move that was long overdue, regardless of his previous success in pinstripes -- team president Randy Levine decided to publicly pat the organization on the back for pulling the trigger.
Levine opening his mouth, no matter the topic, is almost always a PR disaster for the Yankees, so it's still baffling they give him any sort of platform. The Yankees shouldn't exactly be commending themselves for being dedicated to putting the best product on the field possible right now.
Not when the roster is giving regular reps to guys like Albert Abreu, Jake Bauers, Greg Allen, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Nick Ramirez, Clarke Schmidt, Oswaldo Cabrera, Willie Calhoun, and others. Nothing against those guys, but it's not like they're in a different stratosphere than Hicks.
Levine very rarely knows what's going on though, so we can't say it's shocking that this is when he decided to deliver his comments.
Yankees president Randy Levine has laughable comments on Aaron Hicks DFA
Another problem? Hal's "baseball people" finally advised in late May of 2023 that Hicks wasn't worth an active roster spot? Maybe we just discovered another part of the problem?
If the Yankees were unquestionably committed to putting the best team on the field, then they wouldn't have been done after the Carlos Rodón signing. They wouldn't continue giving consistent playing time to Cabrera, who's hitting .199 with a 53 OPS+. Calhoun wouldn't be the backup DH to Giancarlo Stanton. They wouldn't have invested this much energy in a bounce back from Bauers. Albert Abreu would've been gone in spring 2022 after he was rightfully jettisoned. Hicks wouldn't have been swapped out for Allen (does that really make the roster considerably "better"?). They wouldn't keep trotting Schmidt out there every fifth day with his 5.58 ERA, 4.24 FIP and 1.60 WHIP.
Now, you can't solve all of those problems when you're dealing with extensive injury issues, but it's certainly not out of the question to address a couple of them in a more effective, aggressive manner.
This roster is littered with minor-league talent. While fans can sympathize that the Yankees haven't been dealt the best hand to start 2023, there's also something to be said about the actions taken when problems begin to mount. The Yankees invest far too much time in projecting good production where it doesn't exist. Hicks was a mistake that needed to be amended a long time ago -- his release isn't something that should be applauded. The Yankees have the luxury to eat $27 million and make it back in their sleep.