Aaron Hicks calls Yankees tenure the ‘best time of my career’ after being DFA’d
In a move that seemed inevitable, Aaron Hicks’ tenure with the Yankees came to an end as the team designated the veteran outfielder for assignment.
The move came prior to Saturday’s game against the Reds to make room for newly-acquired outfielder Greg Allen, a former Yankee who was acquired in a rare trade with the Boston Red Sox.
“It is what it is,” Hicks told The New York Post on Saturday. “It’s part of the business side of it. Just got to move on to the next chapter. This is a very good baseball team. It kind of seemed like it wasn’t working out for me. Obviously with the decision they decided to make, maybe somewhere else might be a little bit better.”
Hicks, 33, joined the Yankees in 2016 after a trade with the Minnesota Twins. In his first season in pinstripes, he played 123 games while slashing .217/.281/.336 with eight home runs and 31 RBI. After an injury-plagued 2017, Hicks would have a breakout 2018 where he slashed .248/.366/.467 with 27 home runs and 79 RBI.
That season prompted GM Brian Cashman to extend the outfielder to a seven-year, $70 million contract. Hicks still has 2.5 years and $30 million left on his contract at the time of the DFA.
"This is family. You go through everything with these guys,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone told the media prior to Saturday’s game. “Obviously with Aaron, ups and downs. He's had some really good seasons. ... Not an easy conversation but one we felt was necessary."
The move came at a time when left field is a position in flux for the Yankees. Hicks came into this past spring training as the front-runner to be the Opening Day left fielder. While he had a solid spring, going 12-for-41 (.293) with one home run and two RBI, the Yankees decided to go with a committee to manage the corner outfield.
That committee consisted of Hicks, Opening Day starter Oswaldo Cabrera, Jake Bauers and converted infielder Isiah Kiner-Falefa.
Even with the committee, Hicks had opportunities to take the job but offensively was not up to snuff. In 28 games this season, Hicks slashed .188/.263/.261 with one home run and five RBI.
Hicks did have his best game of the season on Thursday against the Blue Jays where he went 3-for-4 with an RBI. But he followed it up with an 0-for-2, two-strikeout performance on Friday against the Reds.
Despite his struggles and the Yankee fanbase turning against him, Hicks looks back at his time in The Bronx fondly.
“I loved being a Yankee,” Hicks told Newsday on Saturday. “It was the best time of my career.”
In eight seasons with the Yankees (651 games), Hicks slashed .230/.337/.398 with 81 home runs and 278 RBI.