On The Yankees Achilles Heel: Falling In Love Too Easily (Part One)

Aaron Hicks, Switch-Hitter New York Yankees (Photo: USA Today)

The Yankees have made some poor choices when it comes to players they choose to marry. Worse, their pre-nuptial agreements tie the team in knots…

The Yankees seem to have a penchant for falling in love with individual players far too freely and quickly.

In some cases, the team extends marriage proposals contain binding pre-nuptial pacts when there is no apparent need. At other times, the Yankees present a stubbornness about a player only they seem to understand. Here is the first of those stories.

Aaron Hicks: The Five-Tool Boy Wonder

The Yankees love affair with Aaron Hicks began in the days when he patrolled center field for the Minnesota Twins. A first-round (14th overall) pick by the Twins in the 2008 Amateur College Draft, Hicks was widely hailed and coveted by Brian Cashman as a five-tool player. With skills that approached the potential (remember that word) of a Mike Trout, Cashman placed Hicks on his bucket list of players he wanted for his Yankees.

John Ryan Murphy: Traded for Aaron Hicks (Photo: azsnakebit.com)
John Ryan Murphy: Traded for Aaron Hicks (Photo: azsnakebit.com)

So when Cashman approached the Twins about dealing Hicks in 2015, there was little if any resistance by the Twins as they looked at his numbers over three years with their club.

After all, playing in an average of 80 games a season, while batting .225 and six home runs, 26 RBI, and nine stolen bases, Hick’s potential as a first-round draft pick fell far short of the Twin’s expectation and need. (Source: Baseball-Reference)

Why not cut the ties? For back-up catcher John Ryan Murphy, the Yankees inherited Aaron Hicks on November 11, 2015.

Four years later, Aaron Hicks remains nothing more than a fledging All-Star, averaging 100 games played, batting .242, with 15 HRs and 50 RBI. 2019 should be, but it can’t be, the cut-off point for the Yankees when they follow the same path as the Twins – admitting – this isn’t the production we thought we would get.

Oh, The Ties That Bind

Oh, the ties that bind. During the offseason in 2019, Aaron Hicks jumped at the chance to sign a seven-year / $70,000,000 contract with the New York Yankees, including a $2,000,000 signing bonus, $70,000,000 guaranteed, and an annual average salary of $10,000,000. (Source: Spotrac)

It goes beyond the money, though, because the Yankees have plenty to spare. It’s more about the fascination the Yankees have with Hicks that continued right through the postseason.

Cameron Maybin - Rejuvenated As A Yankee (Photo: New York Post)
Cameron Maybin – Rejuvenated As A Yankee (Photo: New York Post)

According to legend, Aaron Hicks, who had not appeared in a game since August 3 due to an assortment of injuries, unbeknownst to the team, took it upon himself to play catch at his home in Arizona.

And voila! I am fit and ready to play, said Hicks. Fantastic, said the Yankees, quickly adding Hicks over Cameron Maybin to their ALCS lineup.

Yankees fans know the rest, and how Hicks managed only two hits in 17 plate appearances, joining a tandem of Yankees who failed to produce against the Astros.

Aaron Boone will continue to rave about the quality at-bats and the four walks Hicks drew in the series. But one run scored on one swing of the bat producing a three-run home run does not constitute a productive series.

Yankees: Payment For Being Smitten

Per the generous contract offered by the Yankees to Hicks, he will play his final season at age 36 in 2025, six years from now. There are no opt-outs by either the team or Hicks. The Yankees will pay Hicks $1 million if they trade him.

Trade him? Good luck with that, Brian.

Brian Cashman, GM, New York Yankees Photo Credit: NBC Sports
Brian Cashman, GM, New York Yankees Photo Credit: NBC Sports

Look, by all accounts, Aaron Hicks is a stand-up person and a great teammate. After all, it was Cameron Maybin, who was replaced by Hicks, who offered this: “You gotta look at the player,” said Maybin, stressing they know more than we realize, and more than they let on. “We trust that. He’s showing that he’s ready.”

But if the 2019 ALCS proved anything, it’s that the Evil Empire needs far more than a bunch of hard-working good-guys in their clubhouse.

The Yankees will pay handsomely again for their walk down the aisle with Hicks in 2020. Tommy John‘s surgery is next for the beleaguered outfielder, meaning more loss of time next year.

Faced with no other options, the Yankees can only wait and hope the spot on the roster occupied by Hicks eventually nullifies a glaring mistake by Brian Cashman in his rush to judgment to marry Aaron Hicks…

Part Two of this series will feature the Yankee’s most polarizing player – Gary Sanchez

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Author: stevecontursi

I am an amateur writer with a passion for baseball and all things Yankees and Mets.