Aaron Hicks makes a tearful exit; Is the Yankees’ move unprecedented in MLB?

Aaron Hicks of the New-York Yankees

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On Saturday, the Yankees made the decision to designate Aaron Hicks for assignment, as officially announced by the team. This move was not unexpected and came as no surprise. Above all, it is not unprecedented in the majors.

Aaron Hicks, age 33, became a part of the Yankees organization in 2016 following a trade with the Twins. Despite having three years and an approximate value of $30 million remaining on his contract in New York, His role within the team had always been uncertain due to his underwhelming performance. With Hicks’ performance, he had turned to be the No. 1 “enemy” of Yankees fans.

The Yankees made the decision to part ways with Aaron Hicks, who had faced difficulties since the 2021 season, in order to create space on the active roster for newly acquired outfielder Greg Allen, obtained from the Red Sox on Friday evening.

Aaron Hicks’ teary goodbye

It had been evident for a while that the likelihood of Aaron Hicks completing the remaining three years and nearly $30 million on his contract with the Yankees was slim. However, the official confirmation arrived on Saturday.

The Yankees made the decision to designate Aaron Hicks for assignment, choosing to absorb the financial commitment and part ways with the veteran outfielder. Hicks, who held the distinction of being the team’s longest-tenured position player, saw his tenure with the Yankees come to an end before the completion of their 48th game of the season.

Expressing his emotions, Aaron Hicks, his eyes filled with tears, reflected on the situation with a mix of devastation and disbelief, as reported by Greg Joyce of the New York Post. After receiving supportive hugs from his teammates, he acknowledged that such circumstances are an inherent part of the business aspect of the sport. Despite the difficult circumstances, Aaron Hicks recognized the need to turn the page and embrace the upcoming chapter of his career.

Reflecting on the situation, Aaron Hicks shared his perspective on the team dynamics, acknowledging that the Yankees possess a highly talented roster. While recognizing his own struggles and the ultimate decision made by the team, he expressed the sentiment that perhaps a different environment or team could offer a more favorable fit for his skills and contributions.

Aaron Hicks had openly expressed his dissatisfaction with his role, dating back to the latter part of the previous season. As his performance declined, he transitioned from being an everyday player to a part-time outfielder. Recognizing that Allen has a proven track record of excelling in a bench role throughout his career, the Yankees believe that he is better suited to fulfill that position for the team.

Boone explained the situation

During the pre-game press conference before the Yankees’ 7-4, 10-inning victory over the Reds, Manager Aaron Boone addressed Aaron Hicks’ situation and acknowledged the challenges associated with the role he was assigned. Boone expressed that it was a demanding position for Aaron Hicks to assume and flourish in, highlighting the potential impact it had on the outcome of the decision.

Boone mentioned that Aaron Hicks had conveyed his frustration to him over the course of several months and even the past year, albeit in various ways.

Boone acknowledged that despite Aaron Hicks expressing his frustration, he conducted himself in a professional manner throughout the process.

When Boone informed Aaron Hicks of the decision to part ways with him, their conversation took on a “somber” tone, reflecting the seriousness and emotional weight of the situation.

As Boone reflected on the private conversation he had with Aaron Hicks, he described the atmosphere in the room as “eerie,” characterized by a profound and almost unsettling silence. Boone attributed this atmosphere to the fact that Aaron Hicks had been a prominent figure within the team and had made significant contributions during his tenure with the organization.

Aaron Hicks is anticipated to be released rather than being claimed by another team during the waiver period, marking the end of his tenure with the Yankees. Since joining the team in a trade with the Twins before the 2016 season, the 33-year-old outfielder has had productive seasons in 2017 and 2018. However, his performance declined after signing a seven-year, $70 million extension before the 2019 season, with injuries further impacting his output on the field.

Following Tommy John surgery in October 2019, Aaron Hicks experienced additional setbacks when he underwent surgery for a torn tendon sheath in his left wrist in May 2021, causing him to miss the remainder of that season.

The decline

During his last three seasons with the Yankees, Aaron Hicks’ performance declined significantly, hitting .209 with a .625 OPS across 190 games. Alongside his offensive struggles, there was a noticeable drop in his defensive prowess, which coincided with his transition from center field to left field.

Starting from the latter part of last season, Aaron Hicks had been subjected to criticism and displeasure from Yankee Stadium fans. As his performance slumped further, the chorus of boos intensified following his at-bats.

This season, Aaron Hicks struggled, hitting .188 with a .524 OPS in 28 games. Despite demonstrating some improvement over the past ten days, where he recorded a .353 batting average (6-for-17) and a 1.097 OPS, it proved insufficient to salvage his time with the Yankees.

Aaron Judge expressed his sentiments regarding Aaron Hicks’ departure, acknowledging the impact he had on the team and organization. Judge conveyed his good wishes to Hicks, emphasizing the significance of his contributions. While finding the news difficult to process, Judge expressed excitement for Aaron Hicks to embark on a new journey and continue his career elsewhere.

Aaron Hicks is at Tropicana Field on May 7, 2023.

Is it a surprise?

It became increasingly evident that the conclusion of Aaron Hicks’ tenure with the Yankees was inevitable when he was not named the starting left fielder at the beginning of the season. Over the past few years, Aaron Hicks has faced various injuries that have severely impacted his offensive performance. In the previous season, he openly contemplated whether a fresh start with another team would be more beneficial for his career.

However, the Yankees remained supportive and expressed confidence in his ability to rebound. Nevertheless, after his first 28 games this season, it became clear that Aaron Hicks could not provide the offensive consistency the Yankees needed. Currently, his wRC+ stands at 49, indicating that he is performing 51 percent worse than the average MLB hitter. With their aspirations of a World Series title, the Yankees could not rely on Aaron Hicks for their postseason plans.

Is this unprecedented?

It is uncommon for the Yankees to designate players for assignment when they still have significant financial obligations. In the past, they have made similar moves with players like Jacoby Ellsbury in 2019, who had over $26 million remaining on his contract, and Alex Rodriguez in 2016, who was owed $27 million. Both players had struggled with injuries and performance issues. However, the decision to release Aaron Hicks, who has been healthy and accessible throughout the season, comes as somewhat of a surprise, despite his lack of production justifying such a move.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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32 thoughts on “Aaron Hicks makes a tearful exit; Is the Yankees’ move unprecedented in MLB?

    1. I rooted for him to return to his earlier Yankee form in the worst way. I think the front office did everything possible to avoid an inevitable outcome. I hope lands in place where he is able to turn his career around..

    2. Fair and to the point. Hard to put myself, ever, in a spot to write off 25+ million. Tough business call for those that can….or in this case, have to. Hope he does well also.

  1. I thought they should have cut ties with him long ago but the last few games he looked like he might have something left so the move kind of surprised me — I wish him all the best if some other team wants to give him a chance

    1. Aaron Hicks is just a one of many reason why the Steinbrenners should have fired GM Cashman a decade ago. Hicks is owed $31 million along with Donaldsons $50 million for a total of $81 million dollars which is an absurd amount of money on the books for two pathetic players! Add this amount to Rondons salary of $162 million for a total of $231 million! Rondon hasn’t even thrown a pitch this year. Why sign a pitcher who previously had TJ surgery on top of being poorly conditioned to play in
      the majors? I’m pretty sure Cashman will fire Boone just to save his job! I can’t wait for the day Cashman is fired by the clueless Steinbrenners!

    1. Wow. I bet you think you don’t mess up at your type of work. Maybe they should call you a bum when you mess up at work and cut your pay.

  2. I was happy to see him do so well over the past several games, especially that 3-hit performance last Thursday. It seemed that maybe he had turned the corner and would earn more playing time. A productive Hicks is a valuable asset, being a switch hitter who sees a lot of pitches, walks a lot, has speed and and has a great arm in the outfield. It’s too bad injuries have hampered him in the past. I wish him well. And shame on the ‘fans’ who were merciless towards him as he struggled to improve. Boo the opposing teams’ players, not your own.

  3. Hicks was overrated and overpaid. Had it not been for a juiced baseball he would never have landed a contract with the Yankees!

  4. All good and bad must come to an end.
    Although the expectations are extremely high in the NY stage. We all need to understand that it takes a village. No one could have predicted that Hicks was going to go into the slump and never come out of it. I think he wanted to play his hardest but the NY fans are brutal if you don’t deliver. We all know that. Unfortunately he lost himself in that and in this game you need to believe in yourself and have heart.
    NY took that from him to the point he could never recover from that. I wish him well and I hope things work out for him in the future.

  5. The 2nd pic. The one with the guy in shorts sitting in front of the locker. Who is that? It does not look like Hicks.

  6. Well said. As you boo your teams players no one feels worse than the player who’s not performing. Maybe if they seem disinterested or lazy booing might be called for. Aaron Hicks never came across as being anything but a professional. Fans should stop worrying about the money being paid athletes. The athletes deserve what they get otherwise it just stays with the owners. Any money saved never makes the games more affordable for the fans.

    1. Is standing and sulking in left field because you didn’t catch a ball “disinterested”, especially since the ball was still in play with runners on base?
      If that’s not disinterested, I don’t know what is.

    2. Wrong, the fans are directly affected by the outrageous salaries the players are making. It’s unaffordable for most families to go to a game, and those who do go pay enormous prices for tickets and ridiculous amounts for food and drinks. They deserve the right to express themselves as they watch multimillionaires play a game.

  7. I wish him all the best. Dont give up on yr career or yourself. Though yr journey w Yankees may have ended now, know that u have accomplished what millions of kids and people only dream about. It’s not the end just a new beginning! Believe in yrself and keep pressing on. Whatever yr future holds could be something even Greater!

  8. 👩🏻‍🦰 “Aaron Hicks,” was an all around New York Yankees Player. “Aaron Hicks,” was doing extremely well within his team. I called “Arron Hicks,” “Massive” when he made incredible “Home Runs!”
    😱🏟️🏏🔶🧍🏾‍♀️🧍🏾‍♀️◻️🧍🏾‍♀️◻️🧍🏾‍♀️◻️🧍🏾‍♀️🔶👆🏽🧍🏾‍♀️ 👏👩🏻‍🦰
    Then there was a “Sound of Silence!” “Aaron Hicks,” was Not himself anymore. So, this happens to the BEST! Instead of booing and using vogue words, sit down with your Team Mates, and ask what is wrong! If nothing works, then the ugly feelings come out. Then there’s nothing to write up about is there now? There were some “Yankee Players,” that went, some were good, and yes, there was bad. Yankees have an awesome Team!
    ❣️Them YANKEEZ

  9. 28 million bucks would make me cry too. Have fun with retirement, jackass. I’m sure you swing a golf club better than a bat. And

  10. Like every athlete in every sport there comes a time when your skills diminish, production declines, and father time catches up with you. Rember the good times, recognize that it is time to move on with the next phase of your life. Good luck with your future life.

  11. I think Aaron will flourish in a smaller market. He still has a lot to offer. New York is brutal. Would love to see him in Milwaukee, San Diego or Oakland.

  12. Still a great player. Clearly wanted to thrive with the NY fans. Although he was given ample opportunities to turn it around you could see he was drowning. Needs a reset. Good luck to him.

  13. Only in baseball can you get a 10 year contract with no guarantee to the team of your performance. How many folks do we have to see not being able to throw or hit after year 5. How many athletes bodies just do not make it to year 10. Perhaps contracts with min performance metrics or even medical metrics.. be able to play x games a year .. SORRY GIANCARLO….

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