TAMPA – Let's see the worst case scenario:
Let's say 2018 turns out to be Aaron Hicks' top. Since it can not stay healthy enough and does not grow anymore, its late flowering turns out to be a more exciting aberration.
The Yankees have $ 70 million less, but mostly $ 10 million per season until 2025 on their luxury tax bill.
What if Hicks continues to have a positive trend? The Yankees will punctuate one of their best deals with one of their best trades.
Why not love this seven-year commitment to a guy who has realized his potential as a star under Yankee supervision?
"I think there's more gas in his tank and more mountains to climb," said Brian Cashman at George M. Steinbrenner Field, after a conference release intended to announce the extension of Hicks. "It's from the individual point of view and from the point of view of the plates. … He is able to have a positive impact on a match on both sides of the ball and I feel lucky to have it. "
"I have this tremendous opportunity," said Hicks, 29. "I want to continue. I do not want to stop helping this team win. I want to go to war with them. "
He will now be one of the Yankees' most prominent players, having given up his free-agent status after this season to join Luis Severino, recently expanded, as well as masterpieces such as Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and Giancarlo. Stanton. The Yankees are also negotiating with Dellin Betances, a powerful power take-off, for additional expansion.
It's great for a franchise that has not worked so proactively to such a high level since the takeover of the free years of Andy Pettitte (2000), Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera (2001) and Jorge Posada (2002). This may be a headache for those who put forward Hicks' disappointing batting average (.248 last year, .236 for his career) and his poor record against many of his contemporaries.
Enjoying Hicks however requires a deeper dive. Consider that only three baseball players in baseball recorded an OPS of 800 or better against left-handed and right-handed pitchers last season – Mike Trout of the Angels, Charlie Blackmon of the Rockies and hitter Hicks (thanks FanGraphs). You would prefer to have a .800 OPS rather than a batting average of .300.
And you'd rather have someone who works out the account like Hicks, who – as the Yankees point out in their press release announcing the contract – ranked fifth of the majors last year with a rate 15.5% and a seventh best result at 20.9%. hunting rate. Get into his excellent defense, visible to the naked eye and verified by the measures, and you have a player with five tools – which proved that he could flourish in the Yankees fish bowl – at the price a good relief for the installation.
Hicks' signature obviously lessens the need for the Trout Yankees if he became a free agent after 2020, but the dollars do not block that possibility; Hicks could go to a corner of the outside field.
"We placed a bet," Cashman said. "I bet on him. He's betting on himself. "
Cashman was already betting on Hicks when he had acquired the Twins for catcher John Ryan Murphy in November 2015, and again when the Yankees had remained loyal to him after a trip to the brutal state absolutely brutal (0.217 / .281 / .336) in 2016. This paid off with a breakaway of 88 games (.266 / .372 / .475) the following year, his playing time limited by injuries and similar figures last year (.248 / .366 / .467) in 137 parts.
These gains have earned Hicks a bolder bet, a bet that will not crush the Yankees in case of problems.
Cashman said Monday that the Yankees were "diversified", highlighting their relatively low-risk purchases this season, while they far exceeded the $ 206 million luxury tax threshold (they are now approximately $ 223 million). I think they should also have signed Bryce Harper. However, by blocking Hicks, with each of these acts of diversification, their bet against Harper and Manny Machado seems more and more likely to prevail.