The New York Yankees signed starting centerfielder Aaron Hicks to a seven-year contract extension worth $70 million.
Hicks, 29, will be locked up through 2025, but the contract has a $12.5 million club option for the eighth year in 2026. Hicks hit 27 home runs for the Yankees last season splitting time between the leadoff spot and the middle of the order.
AARON HICKS (NYY)
Hometown: San Pedro, CA
Team: New York Yankees
2018 Average: .248, 27 HR, 79 RBI,.366 OBP
Career: .236, 70 HR, 240 RBI, .328 OBP
Draft: Minnesota Twins, 2008 Draft 18th overall pick
Hicks is a former first round pick out of high school in Long Beach, CA. The Twins selected him with the 18th overall pick in the 2008 Draft. After three unimpressive seasons, the Twins traded Hicks to the Yankees after the 2015 season.
Hicks Almost Gone
Hicks struggled in his first year in the Bronx. He played 123 games in 2016, but hit only .217. The Yankees could have given up on him, but he had another chance in 2017. He hit .266 in 88 games, but he missed half the season with various muscle injuries.
Hicks played 137 games in 2018, the most in his six seasons in the big leagues. He logged 480 at bats and hit 27 home runs with 79 RBIs. He finished the season with a 4.7 WAR. Mike Trout from the LA Angels was the only other center field with a better WAR.
Last season, the switch-hitting Hicks hit better as a lefty with a .258 average versus a .224 as a right-handed hitter. He also has more power from the left side. He crushed 18 home runs or twice as many from the right side (9).
Big Bat Surprise
It took a decade for Hicks to put in his best season in the big leagues. The Yankees are banking on that Hicks still has room to improve. Last season, he spent time hitting in the leadoff spot, the three-hole, and sixth. This season, it seems logical that he’ll lead off and bat in front of Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Gary Sanchez.
With the current lineup, the Yankees only need him to get on base and set the table for the big dogs: Judge, Stanton, and Sanchez. Anything else from Hicks is a bonus, but it’s not unreasonable to expect he could hit 30 home runs this season.
“Aaron Hicks is maybe the most underrated player in the game,” said manager Aaron Boone. “He is such a valuable player, playing a premium position. And the ability to hit with power and the speed he brings. He is really a complete player.”
Hicks hit 27 home runs in 2018. His unexpected power is one of the reasons the Yankees set the single-season record for most homers in a season.
The Yankees made several offseason moves to bolster their pitching. They acquired flamethrower James Paxton in a trade with the Seattle Mariners. They re-sgined Zach Britton and CC Sabathia, who officially announced his retirement. The Yanks also signed reliever Adam Ottovino from the Colorado Rockies.
The Yankees are currently the favorites to win the AL East over the defending-champion Boston Red Sox. The Yankees are also the favorite to win the 2019 World Series. According to the South Point Casino and Sports Book in Las Vegas, the Yankees are 11/2 odds to win the World Series.