All off-season, the Yanks have been try to act Third baseman Josh Donaldson and outfielder Aaron Hicks.
With less than a month until positional players report for spring training, that initiative continues, with New York trying to sweeten the pot for other teams while they look for a trading partner.
After Bob Nightingale from United States todaythe Yankees continue to tell other clubs that Donaldson and Hicks are “very available” and that New York is willing to use up some of those contracts to seal a deal.
It’s no surprise that moving these veterans this winter has been a challenge for New York.
Donaldson is owed $29 million in 2023. He will earn $21 million in 2023 with a club option for 2024 that includes an $8 million buyout. Hicks will make $10 million next season. He owes him $30.5 million before he can go freelance in 2026, the remaining three years of his seven-year, $70 million contract.
Other clubs would feel better about the costs associated with these players if they were more productive. They weren’t in 2022.
While playing elite defense in the hot corner — he produced plus 7 saves he saved — Donaldson compiled the worst year of his career on offense. Donaldson, 37, has cut .22/.308/.374 with just 15 homers in 132 games.
Hicks was able to assuage some durability concerns for most of the year (prior to a season-ending injury in the playoffs) and nearly reached his career-high with 130 games played. Still, the outfielder who hit the switch was virtually useless for much of the year, hitting .216/.330/.313 with eight home runs and 109 strikeouts. At the end of the season, Hicks got the Joey Gallo treatment from fans in the Bronx.
If the Yankees find a way to get rid of Donaldson or Hicks, they have players internally who can move up to third base and left field, respectively.
DJ LeMahieu would be in line to finish third, while Isiah Kiner-Falefa can also move from shortstop, opening the door for prospects Oswald Peraza and Anthony Volpe to secure big league playing time.
Spark plug Oswaldo Cabrera is best in a utility role, but he’s shown in 2022 that he’s capable of playing quality defense in the outfield, another way to bring his Switch hitter to the lineup. Estevan Florial is also an option, along with new faces like Rafael Ortega and Willie Calhoun, who signed minor-league deals this winter.
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