For quite some time now, fans of the New York Yankees have been waiting for the team to make the move that they did on Saturday. Prior to the team’s game against the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday afternoon, the Yankees announced that they had designated struggling outfielder Aaron Hicks for an assignment.
Unfortunately for Hicks, the move has been a long time coming, as his play has significantly tailed off in recent years.
The 33-year-old outfielder still has two and a half years remaining on his seven-year, $70 million contract. So unless a team decides to claim Hicks off waivers — which is more than unlikely — the Bronx Bombers will be on the hook for his remaining salary. The most likely scenario here is that another team will sign Hicks for the veteran minimum once he reaches free agency, perhaps giving him a change of scenery away from New York.
While Hicks was hitting, he was also more than adept with his glove and was one of the better defensive outfielders in the game. That is no longer the case, though. According to Statcast, Hicks has prevented minus one run on the season and has minus one above-average outs. OAA is a range-based metric of skill that shows many outs a player has saved.
At the plate, Hicks is slashing .188/.263/.384 with one home run and five RBIs in 76 plate appearances (69 at-bats). This has pretty much been the story for Hicks, who has a career-low .524 OPS after he had a career year with the Yankees in 2018. But it’s progressively gotten worse.
Ironically enough, Hicks is on a tear at the plate over the past seven games, but the Yankees still decided that it was time to move on.
Those in the world of Major League Baseball, particularly those that root for or cover the Yankees, reacted to the huge news on social media:
the internet somehow makes our memory span long and short at the same time. but we should try and remember this Aaron Hicks moment, because it mattered pic.twitter.com/Wt0StRYzQW
— Bradford William Davis (@BWDBWDBWD) May 20, 2023
Aaron Hicks was a very good Yankee at a scarce position for four years. Played through an injury that required TJ in the playoffs against doctor's orders when the team NEEDED it.
Give him his flowers on his way out.
Thanks for the good times, Hicksy.pic.twitter.com/gRF09Gx8VK
— Max Mannis (@MaxMannis) May 20, 2023
I'm gonna choose to remember Aaron Hicks by this moment. He's a good dude, I wish him nothing but the best moving forward pic.twitter.com/bfGopA8Ywt
— gabe (@PlayoffTanaka_) May 20, 2023
What's wild is that Aaron Hicks was hitting .353/.450/.647 with four RBI, four runs, two doubles and a homer in his last seven games.
After years of poor production, Hicks was designated for assignment after his best stretch in recent memory.
— Max Goodman (@MaxTGoodman) May 20, 2023
Aaron Hicks is so talented, and a good guy — it’s just odd how much his play dropped off. There is, or at least was, a lot there.
— Andy Martino (@martinonyc) May 20, 2023
Aaron Hicks had shown some signs of life at the plate more recently, but this has felt like a choice the #Yankees were going to make at one point or another. Hicks still has 2.5 years left on his deal. https://t.co/RjaUa4LVJb
— Gary Phillips (@GaryHPhillips) May 20, 2023
We will never forget you’re ALCS home run. Goodbye 2018 MVP vote getter Aaron Hicks
— YankeesMuse (@YankeesMuse) May 20, 2023
AARON HICKS IS GONE OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD https://t.co/eoWEyeoEwv
— Eric Hubbs (@BarstoolHubbs) May 20, 2023
[New York Yankees on Twitter, Statcast; photo from Nick Turchiaro/USA TODAY Sports]