Twins trade OF Aaron Hicks to Yankees for C John Ryan Murphy
The Twins have shipped outfielder Aaron Hicks to the Yankees for catcher John Ryan Murphy.
The Minnesota Twins have sent outfielder Aaron Hicks to the New York Yankees in exchange for catcher John Ryan Murphy, the two clubs announced from the GM Meetings in Boca Raton, Fla., on Wednesday afternoon.
Hicks, 26, has mostly spent his time in center field with the Twins, though he's seen some action on the corners. He hit .256/.323/.398 with 11 doubles, three triples, 11 homers and 13 stolen bases in 390 plate appearances last season. The 2008 first-rounder (14th overall pick), Hicks was long considered a top prospect and has just started to hit the ball better.
For the Twins, though, top prospect Byron Buxton is the future in center field while the corners will have Eddie Rosario and possibly some spill over from their crowded infield corners. This isn't even mentioning prospect Max Kepler, who hit .322/.416/.531 with 32 doubles, 13 triples, nine homers and 18 steals in Double A (112 games) last season.
For the Yankees, they have Jacoby Ellsbury cemented in center, while Brett Gardner is in left and Carlos Beltran was playing right. Beltran probably needs to be limited in the field and a move to a corner for Ellsbury could be coming in the next few years. There's also now flexibility to move Gardner if the Yankees so choose. It's a long offseason and only getting started.
Murphy, 24, hit .277/.327/.406 with nine doubles and three homers last season in 172 plate appearances. The 2009 second-round pick was already stuck behind Brian McCann on the Yankees depth chart, and top prospect Gary Sanchez isn't far off.
For the Twins, Kurt Suzuki is coming off a poor year at the plate (.240/.296/.314) and he's only signed through 2016. They didn't really have a viable backup option -- no, Joe Mauer isn't moving back to catcher -- until this deal. Murphy will likely head into the season as the backup, though the chances of him taking over as the regular catcher are pretty great. Suzuki has a vesting option for 2017 which guarantees $6 million if he reaches 485 plate appearances next season.
With this move and the winning bid to negotiate with Korean slugger Byung Ho Park, the Twins have been very active in the early stages of the offseason.
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