The Yankees deserve a lot of credit; not only for trading for Aaron Hicks, but for being patient with him after an ugly first season in pinstripes. Hicks tooks a massive step forward in 2017, offensively, boosting his wOBA 93 points while nearly doubling his wRC+ (from 64 to 127). He walked at an excellent 14.1 percent clip (up from 8.3 percent), maintained a manageable strikeout rate (18.6 percent) and tapped into more power than ever. Sure, the new ball helped him, as did the dimensions at Yankee Stadium (12 of 15 homers at home), but neither of those factors figure to change in 2018. The team has already thrown its weight behind Hicks, tabbing him as an everyday starter over Jacoby Ellsbury, and he could hit second in the order in front of Aaron Judge. Playing-time concerns remain given his injury history -- Hicks made two separate trips to the DL in 2017 due to oblique issues -- but there is upside here at a relatively cheap price.
Hicks agreed to a one-year, $2.825 deal with the Yankees on Thursday, avoiding arbitration, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports. Hicks battled multiple injuries in 2017 and appeared in just 88 games for the Yankees. Despite his limited playing time, the veteran outfielder was able to put together a solid season highlighted by his 0.76 BB/K ratio and career-high .475 slugging percentage. The 28-year-old lines up to be an everyday starter in the outfield and projects to be a solid source of offensive production in the Yankees' potent lineup. He has the pedigree to hit 15-plus home runs and swipe double-digit bags.
General manager Brian Cashman said Monday that Hicks is expected to be an everyday starter in the outfield next season, Bryan Hoch of MLB.com reports. "We wouldn't have been playing him everyday in the postseason if we didn't think that," Cashman noted. Injuries and a crowded outfield limited Hicks to just 361 plate appearances in 2017, but that didn't stop the 28-year-old from producing his best season to date. He flashed the much coveted power-speed combo, hitting .266/.372/.475 with 15 homers and 10 stolen bases in 88 games. Assuming he's able to stay healthy next season, Hicks should be in line for a significant uptick in opportunities.
Hicks hit a pinch-hit home run during Thursday's loss to Tampa Bay. After missing 22 outings with an oblique injury, Hicks has gone 3-for-5 with two homers through three games since returning from the disabled list. Injuries and a crowded outfield have limited him to just 350 plate appearances, but 2017 has easily been Hicks' best fantasy campaign to date. He has flashed the coveted power-speed combo while posting a solid .891 OPS.
Hicks is out of the lineup for Thursday's game against the Rays. Hicks will get the day off after starting the past two games -- which came on the heels of a three-week stay on the DL (oblique) -- as manager Joe Girardi will give his outfielder a little rest. In his place, Jacoby Ellsbury draws the start in center while batting seventh in the order.
Hicks is starting in center field and leading off Tuesday against the Rays, Meredith Marakovits of YES Network reports. Hicks was reinstated from the 10-day DL prior to Tuesday's contest, and he'll make his first start since suffering an oblique injury Sept. 2. He's missed 61 games this season due to oblique injuries, but he's compiled a respectable .265/.367/.463 line in 82 games when healthy. The Yankees have already locked up a playoff spot, so Hicks should see plenty of opportunities to shake the rust off over the final six games, though he may not play everyday with Jacoby Ellsbury and Clint Frazier also in the mix. He'll face Blake Snell in his return to the lineup.