Did the Yankees let Aaron Hicks go at the wrong time?

Sara Molnick
Tuesday June 13, 2023

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Once he is out of New York, Aaron Hicks is flourishing and reminding the Yankees about the decision to let him go. Since joining the Baltimore Orioles, the ex-New York outfielder has become a catalyst, igniting their performance in the last 10 games. With a batting average of .345, an impressive 1.058 OPS, and a higher walk rate than strikeouts, he has proven to be an invaluable asset to the team.

He is raking at bats while the Yankees offense is facing a slump.

Baltimore reaps rewards with Aaron Hicks move

Aaron Hicks has witnessed a remarkable surge in his OPS, soaring from .524 during his release from the Yankees to an impressive .688. Moreover, his ability to reach base has been exceptional with the Orioles, boasting a .472 on-base percentage.

Baltimore took a chance on Aaron Hicks by signing him for the league minimum after the Yankees put him on waivers even though he still had $30 million left on his contract until 2025. They did this because they thought he could fill the spot left by injured center fielder Cedric Mullins, who went on the injured list at the end of May.

(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

According to the Baltimore Sun, it was reported that the O’s executive vice president and general manager, Mike Elias, acknowledged the possibility of not achieving ideal outcomes in every aspect. However, he mentioned that they have identified positive qualities in Aaron Hicks that align well with their team. Elias expressed his optimism, hoping that Hicks’s involvement would provide a significant boost and contribute to their success by assisting them in winning games.

The Yankees let Aaron Hicks go

After enduring over two seasons of underwhelming performance, the Yankees decided to part ways with Aaron Hicks. In 2015, the Yankees acquired the 33-year-old center fielder through a trade, and he experienced his most impressive season while wearing pinstripes in 2018. During that year, he achieved an impressive .833 OPS and recorded 27 home runs.

Following that remarkable season, the Yankees showed their appreciation by granting him a seven-year, $70 million extension, a contract that appeared promising in terms of long-term viability. At that time, Aaron Hicks showcased his prowess as a switch-hitting power hitter who excelled in center field, making the deal seem like a wise investment.

For the majority of his remaining time with the Yankees, Aaron Hicks’ tenure in pinstripes was marked by a combination of injuries and inconsistent performance.

Following his Tommy John surgery in 2019, he managed to compile a commendable season in 2020 with a .793 OPS. However, Aaron Hicks openly acknowledged that his arm did not fully recover its former strength during that particular year. During the 2021 and 2022 seasons, he was not very good at the plate. He ended the two years with a combined .639 OPS and only 12 home runs. His bad numbers got even worse when he had surgery in May 2021 to fix a torn muscle sheath, which made it harder for Aaron Hicks to play.

As the 2023 season commenced and Aaron Hicks encountered difficulties, his relationship with the team began to display visible strain, particularly concerning concerns over playing time. Ultimately, on May 20, the Yankees made the decision to release him from the roster.

Presently, it appears that a change of environment might have been precisely the catalyst Aaron Hicks required. And the Yankees ended up letting him go when he began to show some offense.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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