Vincent Carchietta | USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Hicks has to go. And he will go. That is not in doubt. His existence with the Yankees has become irreversibly toxic. A separation is inevitable.

But when? That is the pressing — and somewhat frightening — question.

An optimistic review of the pertinent facts could lead one to surmise Hicks has entered his final days in pinstripes. Last weekend in Baltimore made it clear the Yankees really have no use for him, after all.

Manager Aaron Boone stuck with Isiah Kiner-Falefa over Hicks in a key spot on Friday. Hicks did not play Sunday (or Monday) after he managed an RBI single on Saturday. And then you consider Franchy Cordero’s emergence, Oswaldo Cabrera’s steady play and — the Bombers hope — Harrison Bader’s upcoming return.

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Add it all up. There is reason to believe Hicks could be designated for assignment once Bader comes off the injured list in two weeks or so. But it may be extremely wishful thinking. We know general manager Brian Cashman is loath to acknowledge mistakes. And this is still the team that dragged Joey Gallo all the way to the trade deadline last summer under similarly hopeless conditions.

The Yankees were unable to admit timely defeat with Gallo, a failed trade pick-up with an expiring $10 million deal. And they had no qualms exposing him to an enraged fanbase for weeks on end. So why expect they will do anything different with Hicks, a homegrown player who has three years (counting this one) and $30 million in salary left before a buyout window?

It is not hard to envision: An excuse is found to keep Hicks when a roster spot needs to open for Bader. And then there is an injury or two and before you know it, Hicks has been granted an indefinite reprieve. Not that he will produce during it or that the booing will subside. But why would that matter to the Yankees? It did not with Gallo.

Hicks is not long for the Bronx. You would hope Cashman learned his lesson and will either DFA Hicks at the first opportunity. Or ship him off for a fresh start in some small market town with some urgency, no matter how meager the return. But there is no reason to have any faith the Yankees will not prolong the inevitable until the last moment. Which is mind-boggling. And, frankly, a bit cruel. For all parties involved.

James Kratch can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @jameskratch.

James Kratch is the managing editor of ESNY. He previously worked as a Rutgers and Giants (and Mike Francesa) beat reporter for NJ Advance Media.