The Diamondbacks made a move on Thursday that not many were expecting to see when they started their respective days. General manager Brian Cashman and the Yankees should be taking notes.
Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic was the first to report that the DBacks were designating starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner for assignment. MadBum is currently in the fourth season of a five-year, $85 million contract that he signed in December 2019.
As ESPN’s Jeff Passan notes, Arizona will be eating $34 million with this move. Once Bumgarner clears waivers, he’ll be eligible to sign with any MLB team for the league minimum, which is $720,000.
So, what am I saying here? Should the Yankees consider Bumgarner for their rotation? No — I’m not at all saying that. Not one bit. But, New York should be taking a page out of Arizona’s playbook when it comes to making the best move for the sake of its baseball team.
You know what I’m talking about. There are technically two guys who fit the bill on New York’s roster right now in this light: Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Aaron Hicks. For the moment, though, I’m talking about Hicks.
The outfielder signed a seven-year, $70 million extension to stay in New York back in February 2019. Things haven’t gone great since then. It’s gotten so bad that Oswaldo Cabrera (a natural shortstop) has been starting more games in the outfield than Hicks. And speaking of IKF, he only just started playing the outfield like yesterday in a super-utility role. Despite that, manager Aaron Boone calls on him just as often, if not more so.
Hicks has a base salary of $10.5 million for 2023, followed by two more years at a $9.5 million base salary. While Giancarlo Stanton’s injury is an excuse to keep him around for a little bit longer, there’s no reason to have this guy taking up a roster spot. He’s been trusted with just 27 plate appearances thus far, which has led to a .125/.222/.125 line with nine strikeouts.
Bumgarner hasn’t been very good at any point in his contract with the Diamondbacks. However, he’s been especially bad to start this season. He’s thrown just 16.2 innings through four starts and has lost three of those appearances while posting a 10.26 ERA and 2.40 WHIP.
Even with a $114 million payroll that ranks in the bottom third of the league, Arizona decided to cut bait and call it a bad investment. Meanwhile, the Yankees, who rank second in team payroll at $279 million, are still trying to find ways to justify Hicks’ inclusion on the roster.
It doesn’t make sense, folks. On a much smaller scale, the same could be said about IKF. New York should’ve non-tendered him last winter instead of agreeing to a $6 million contract. But it just felt like Cashman wasn’t ready to admit that his trade with the Minnesota Twins was a colossal flop. The same applies here.
We’ll see exactly what happens once Harrison Bader returns from the injured list. The game is rigged if one of these two dudes isn’t a roster casualty. If one of them takes the fall (like they should), then the other shoe should drop soon after. Because enough is enough. Stop justifying their inclusion and make the best baseball move.
You can reach Matt Musico at [email protected]. You can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.