As the offseason starts to unfold, many Yankee fans have started to look at potential roster moves, and outfielder, Aaron Hicks headlines that list. His recent struggles have fans asking, is keeping Aaron Hicks worth it?
For the last few seasons, Hicks has experienced some dramatic ups and downs. While he has shown up for some very clutch situations since he has become a Yankee in 2017, his inconsistency has people concerned about his value as a player.
Offensively, he is a career .231 hitter and he wasn’t shown the power in recent seasons the same way he did in 2018. Ever since that year, he has fallen far from that success he experienced. While he didn’t hit that much higher than his career average for batting average, he slugged 27 bombs and drove in 79 runs.
After that breakout season, fans started to get behind him and so did the Yankees front office, signing him for a seven-year, $70 million contract extension. With the future looking bright for Hicks and the Yankees’ front office feeling a sense of security, it was up to Hicks to perform in the long run.
Not What People Were Expecting
Unfortunately, things have not panned out the way both Hicks and the Yankees wanted. Since inking that contract, he has played a level that the majority of people would say is simply unacceptable for $10 million per year.
Riddled with injuries seemingly every season, Hicks has performed at a level that some would say warrants a seat on the bench. However, he didn’t struggle with injury very much this season, but still put up rather worrying numbers that the Yankees would be naive to ignore.
He only batted .216 and struck out in almost a quarter of hit total at-bats. While this type of statistic is becoming more normalized in today’s game, it requires something that Hicks simply did not do this season; hit for power. He only managed to send eight balls over the fence this year and amassed a slugging percentage (.313) that didn’t even surpass his on-base percentage (.330).
Not only is this not productive, but it has been pretty commonplace for Hicks over the last few years. In the last three seasons combined, he hasn’t reached that home run total that he amassed in 2018. His strikeout totals continue to rise, and his defense is subpar at best.
For a player that is as well-paid as Hicks, one could expect much higher production from someone with his paycheck.
The Problem the Yankees Face
As of now, Hicks is still owed three more years of payments on his contract, but he holds almost no value in trade, so what should the Yankees do? The answer is a tough one and it would almost be too drastic for them to send him down to the minors.
The Yankees still owe him $30 million, but he has almost become a liability in the outfield, at this point. His production has tanked so badly, that some fans look at him as a waste of a roster spot.
At the end of the day, his contract has become an absolute nightmare that the Yankees have to deal with. His ticket price per year leaves the front office in a predicament. Do they keep the faith and let him play, hoping that he will gain some production back? Or do they move for his outright release and cut their losses?
Either way, it’s a big decision that is going to have to be made one way or another. With Aaron Judge being a free agent at the time of this writing, there is a possibility that the Yankees will be losing the most valuable part of their offense.
Obviously, Hicks will never match the output that Judge is able to produce, but finding his swing again could help the Yankees if Judge decides to depart from New York.
Only time will tell what will happen with Hicks, but it is a big decision for the Yankees front office nonetheless.
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Statistics courtesy of baseball-reference.com
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