The New York Yankees are busy aside from trying to re-sign star slugger Aaron Judge.
Per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, third baseman Josh Donaldson and outfielder Aaron Hicks are both on the trading block. Furthermore, the Yankees are ready to move both so much that they’d be willing to include money in a potential deal and maybe even take on another “inflated” contract.
For context, Hicks has three years and less than $30 million left on his contract and Donaldson has one year and $21 million on his, plus a $6 million option. Both players combined for a paltry 3.1 fWAR in 2022.
So what does this mean for the Yankees and Judge? In the immediate, probably nothing. New York’s rumored offer makes him the highest-paid position player in baseball independent of any trades. The Yankees are the Yankees and offering Judge more money doesn’t hinge entirely on Donaldson and/or Hicks trades.
Rather, this could mean the Yankees want to sign Judge and then make more moves to build around him. Maybe Brian Cashman can sign one of Carlos Correa or Dansby Swanson to play shortstop for a year before switching to third. Japanese outfielder Masataka Yoshida is also highly intriguing.
But above all else, the Yankees shopping Josh Donaldson and Aaron Hicks is Cashman admitting his mistakes. Hicks benefitted from juiced balls and parlayed that into a $70 million deal, and then was either living on the trainer’s table or otherwise terrible. Donaldson played great defense at third, but was anything but a former MVP at the plate.
New York now appears determined to get over the ALCS/Houston Astros hump and win that elusive 28th World Series. Aaron Judge’s future, while important, is almost secondary to Donaldson and Hicks being shopped.
Regardless of where the reigning AL MVP signs, it’s clear the Yankees’ offseason doesn’t start and end with him.