It’s no secret that the Yanks would like to add a left-hitting left fielder and trade Aaron Hicks. However, as options narrow and spring training approaches, New York’s leaders are publicly expressing their confidence in the reigning outfielder.
As if those responsible could now say anything else.
Bryan Reynolds is the true difference maker available, but a trade did not materialize due to high prices in Pittsburgh. After that, the Yankees’ limited outside options include free agent Jurickson Profar and the Twins’ Max Kepler.
New York’s internal candidates are also questioned. That contingent includes Hicks, who has recently suffered injuries and a poor performance, as well as untested Oswaldo Cabrera and Estevan Florial. Aaron Boone mentioned Willie Calhoun in a recent interview with Minor League Jack Curry from YES Network, But the manager said he felt Hicks, 33, “has a chance to really recover”.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman expressed similar confidence in the struggling switch-hitter, even touting Hicks as the current leader in left field during a Sunday interview on SiriusXM MLB Network Radio.
“I suspect he’s going to be the guy that comes out because he’s still very talented and everything’s there,” Cashman said, adding that Hicks has fully recovered from a knee injury he sustained in the postseason . “Hopefully we can get the Aaron Hicks who we know is coming back for us as a consistent player.”
Hicks is coming off a 2022 campaign in which he cut .216/.330/.313 with eight homers and 40 RBI, lost his midfield job to Harrison Bader and said it New York Post He would be open to a swap if it meant more playing time.
While Cashman’s comments on social media drew some attention, particularly from those wanting a new face on the left, the GM’s words should be taken with caution at this point in the offseason.
For one thing, Cashman has nothing to gain in trade or free-agent negotiations by sounding desperate about his left field situation. Ditto for criticism of Hicks, a player the Yankees would like to move. Those items on the to-do list have already proved difficult, thanks to the shrinking left-field market and the $30.5 million owed to Hicks over the next three years.
Anything but outward optimism will only make Cashman’s job more difficult, even if the baseball world knows his true intentions.
Cashman has in the past claimed to have an internal favorite for an open position – remember Bubba Crosby? – only to make for splashes later. That doesn’t mean it will happen this time, but it also doesn’t mean Cashman’s radio remarks should be treated as gospel.
Hicks or another internal option could very well be the Yankees’ primary left fielder in 2023, but that wasn’t determined Sunday. There is still some time to improve the position, even if the loot is meager.
“We have lines on certain occasions,” Cashman said. “If it happens in February or March, so be it. Or we go with what we have.”
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