Day One of the GM Meetings in Carlsbad, California came and went on Tuesday and Yankees general manager Brian Cashman spoke to a cluster of reporters about a number of topics, including the collective bargaining agreement, if he was given a set budget by ownership and even Luis Rojas.
A bit surprisingly, one thing that came up early in the media scrum was center field.
When asked if he has a clear list of priorities for what he’s looking to attack this winter, Cashman wasn’t leaving anything off the table.
“Obviously looking at shortstop, maybe center field,” Cashman said. “We’ll evaluate all potential opportunities regardless. I’d say anything and everything. The job is to be open-minded.”
Of course, the job of general manager is to be open-minded. But slipping center field in there was a bit surprising considering the Yankees are already supposed to have their center fielder.
Going into the 2021 season, Aaron Hicks, who signed a seven-year, $70 million extension prior to the 2019 season, was expected to be the team’s everyday starting center fielder. Instead, he played in just 32 games after receiving season-ending wrist surgery in May due to a torn sheath in his left wrist.
But that’s just it.
In six seasons with the Yankees, since they acquired him from the Minnesota Twins for John Ryan Murphy, Hicks has played over 120 games just twice. In fact, since 2016, Hicks has only averaged 82 games played. Even during his three-year tenure with the Twins, Hicks never played over 100 games.
However, when he can stay healthy – and on the field – defense has never been a concern for the 31-year-old. With a rocket arm in the outfield, Hicks owns a .992 fielding percentage and 34 outfield assists in his career.
At the plate, though, it’s a different story. In 493 games with the Yankees, Hicks has slashed .237/.342/.424 with 72 home runs, 233 RBI, 258 runs scored and a .766 OPS.
“He very well might be our starting center fielder, but again I’m going to be open minded and evaluate all opportunities and we just want to make sure we put the best team out there,” Cashman said. “There’s no guarantees for anybody.”
According to Cashman, the Yankees and Hicks, whose rehab should be complete by the end of November, are still deciding whether or not he’ll play winter ball this offseason.
Source: Yahoo Sports