The team announced Saturday that Hicks has been designated for assignment. By the time reporters were allowed into the clubhouse, he'd already cleaned out his locker and packed his bags, and he was saying goodbye to his teammates.
Aaron Hicks has been DFA’d. locker here has been cleaned out
— Erik Boland (@eboland11) May 20, 2023
Hicks, 33, hit .188/.263/.261 over 28 games this season. He'd shown some signs of life at the plate recently, going 6-for-15 in his last six games, but that wasn't enough to erase six weeks of relative flailing. The Yankees traded for speedy outfielder Greg Allen on Friday, and to open a spot on the 26-man and 40-man rosters, DFA'ing Hicks made the most sense.
The Yankees traded for Hicks in November 2015, snagging him from the Minnesota Twins, who drafted him in the first round in 2008. Hicks struggled with his health or his hitting in his first few years with the Yankees, but in 2018, he hit .248 in 137 games (still the most of his career), with 27 home runs.
That solid and steady season is what led the Yankees to sign him to a seven-year, $70 million contract in April 2019. Unfortunately, the future didn't repeat the past. Hicks missed massive chunks of 2019 and 2021 due to injuries and would've missed most of the 2020 season had it not been shortened by COVID-19, giving him more time to heal. Hicks did play 130 games in 2022 but ended up hitting .216.
The Yankees still owe him more than $20 million for the final 2.5 years of his contract.
“It is what it is,” Hicks said via the New York Post. “It’s part of the business side of it. Just got to move on to the next chapter. This is a very good baseball team. It kind of seemed like it wasn’t working out for me. Obviously, with the decision they decided to make, maybe somewhere else might be a little bit better.”
Of all the teams that could use hitting help right now, the San Diego Padres might be the best destination for Hicks. They're 20-25 and just lost Manny Machado to a hand injury. And as far as a change of scenery from New York, you can't get much different than San Diego.