There is absolutely no reason — save another injury on Monday night, which is certainly possible — for this to not be Aaron Hicks’ final full day with the Yankees.
Slugger Aaron Judge is expected to be activated from the injured list Tuesday. The Bombers must make room on the roster to accommodate him. Their options are limited. And, if they are actually trying to win a World Series, pretty straightforward.
Lord knows Isiah Kiner-Falefa is untouchable. So general manager Brian Cashman can demote budding young stars like Oswaldo Cabrera or Oswald Peraza. He can risk losing Jake Bauers or Franchy Cordero on waivers. Or he can do what he should have done a long time ago and finally end this Hicks misery, the millions of dollars he is still owed be damned.
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Hicks is batting .143. He has one extra-base hit this season (a well-timed one, though; there is a good chance manager Aaron Boone will be waxing poetic about it in 24 hours or so). His WAR is minus-0.8. His defense has slipped. His existence is wildly toxic. There is no hope for him here. The Yankees are not going to win anything with him. But he remains because Cashman is incapable of admitting defeat in a timely manner and because Hicks had $30 million left on his deal entering the season.
Guess what? It is just money. And these are the Yankees. If they actually intend to dig themselves out of this hole and contend for a championship, releasing Hicks would be a good place to start. It will not solve everything. Heck, it may not solve much. But it will send a clear signal. And if they find a reason to keep him around? That too will speak volumes.
James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @jameskratch.