The New York Yankees designated veteran outfielder Aaron Hicks for assignment ahead of their game on Saturday against the Cincinnati Reds. The move cleared up a spot for Greg Allen, who was acquired from the Boston Red Sox on Friday night in exchange for right-hander Diego Hernandez and cash considerations.
Hicks, 33, had hit .188/.263/.261 (47 OPS+) in 76 plate appearances this season. CBS Sports recently highlighted why he should be on the chopping block despite having more than $25 million remaining on his contract:
Hicks and the Yankees have been heading toward a divorce since late last season, when he publicly expressed frustration with his role despite poor play. Surely by now the Yankees must be rid of the delusion that he can still contribute. Hicks hasn't approached league-average offense since 2020. He's opened the season with a 3-for-40 showing against right-handed pitching. Prior to Sunday, he hadn't recorded an extra-base hit since last September. There are no underlying indicators suggesting a turnaround is likely. The Yankees' outfield isn't at full health, but that's no matter. You don't have to understand or agree with the replacement-level concept to agree on this much: there are scores of minor-league outfielders who, given the opportunity, could provide the Yankees with more than Hicks has to date. Just eat the money already.
Allen, 30, will begin his second stint with the Yankees organization. He previously spent the 2021 season in pinstripes, appearing in 15 games and posting a 136 OPS+. Allen has played in 282 big-league games overall, amassing a slash line of .232/.299/.336 (71 OPS+) with 10 home runs and 45 stolen bases. He's spent this season in Triple-A, hitting for a .795 OPS with 23 stolen bases (on 23 tries).
It's worth noting that Hicks' subtraction spares two other outfielders with poor numbers this season, in Willie Calhoun, and Jake Bauers. Both have outperformed Hicks to date and were without minor-league options. As such, they would have been exposed to the waiver wire if the Yankees had made this decision based solely on money owed.
Hernandez, 18, appeared in 12 games last season for the Yankees' Dominican Summer League affiliate. He posted a 2.10 ERA and a 3.43 strikeout-to-walk ratio in those contests. He was not ranked by Baseball America as a top-30 prospect in the system.
The Yankees and Red Sox rarely trade with each other. This is the first swap since the Red Sox obtained Adam Ottavino in January 2021. That deal was the first since 2014 (Stephen Drew for Kelly Johnson, and that one the first since 1997, when the Yankees sent Tony Armas and Jim Mecir to Boston for Mike Stanley and Randy Brown.