Yankees Save Money, Extend Hicks for 7 Years
Generally speaking, when it comes to MLB free agency, if the New York Yankees are in on a player, it’s the Yankees vs. everyone else. Yes, the Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, and Los Angeles Dodgers aren’t afraid to throw their weight around, but no one else does it like the Yankees.
Not in the past, at least. Now it seems the Yanks are about saving money, while still supposedly trying to win.
That became clear when New York extended outfielder Aaron Hicks for seven years to the tune of $70 million dollars, with a club option for an eighth year, as first reported by the YES Network.
Aaron Hicks has agreed to a 7-year, $70M extension with the Yankees. The team will announce the extension later today.
— Jack Curry (@JackCurryYES) February 25, 2019
The Yankees save money, Hicks likely makes more than he would have on the open market. It’s a win-win, right? Certainly for Hicks, but what about New York?
By the end of the extension, Hicks will be 37 years old. Hard to imagine he’ll be worth the money by then. Actually, is he even worth that type of money now?
Hicks hit over 15 home runs for the first time in his career in 2018 (27) and likely would have had a similar output if he’d been on the field more in 2017 (15 in 88 games). That’s one of his drawbacks though: Hicks doesn’t doesn’t play a ton. Last year (137 games) was the most he’s ever played at the Major League level and only the second time he’s played over 100 games. He’s hit the DL at least once every year at the big league level.
Furthermore, he’s hit for power the last couple years—playing at Yankee Stadium will do that for you—but are the Yankees convinced that will maintain? They must because they can’t be looking to him to hit for average. His best year came in at .256. But even looking further at his power, up until 2017 his best OPS was .721.
Was the extension because Hicks finished 22nd in the MVP voting last year? Probably not. Maybe his top-notch defense? Doesn’t hurt, but come on.
He’s significantly cheaper than guys like Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, and he still provides some level of production. (Makes sense, for a small market team fallen on tough times like New York. Have to respect them for finding a way to patch things together.)
In all seriousness, this wouldn’t look so odd if the Yankees hadn’t shown interest previously in Machado. They had money to spend on superstar talent, they simply don’t want to dish it out like they used to. It’s a business, no question, but the Yankees refraining from throwing around their money like the old days is another concerning sign for players. Especially when you put it into this context: among all MLB clubs in 2017, the Yankees had the lowest percentage of revenue spent on their MLB roster salaries, according to SB Nation’s Pinstripe Alley.
What happens when everyone else starts to follow their business model?