Good morning! If you’re like me, this week started out promptly with the report that Aaron Hicks has signed a 7-year contract extension with the Yankees for a base of $70 million, according to friend-of-the-program Jack Curry. The terms of the contract begin this season, 2019.
There is an eighth-year club option on the deal that is worth $12.5 million, so my quick math tells me the deal maxes out at 8-years, $82.5 million.
The year-by-year breakdown, according to Joel Sherman:
- 2019: $6M salary, $2M signing bonus
- 2020-2023: $10.5
- 2024-2025: $9.5M
- 2026 team option: $12.5M or $1M buyout
I have some scattered thoughts on this bad boy, so I’m just going to let ‘em rip below:
- Financially, this is a very nice deal for the Yankees. Hicks will never be a clot in the luxury tax threshold because his average annual value isn’t too high. That’s nice for the organization as far as potential financial flexibility moving forward
- On that note of this being a good deal for the Yankees, it seems like Hicks is sacrificing a lot of annual salary and potential total career earnings to be guaranteed a job into his mid-30s. I can’t blame him for that, given the state of free agency, but a few years ago I would’ve thought Hicks was a shoo-in to be a 5-year $80M guy in free agency. Now, he had to sign an extension a year early to get almost that much over seven seasons. Maybe having his first child is making him re-prioritize. I remain scared of CBA negotiations in a few years.
- Aaron Hicks is 29 years old this season (he’ll turn 30 on Oct. 2). This contract keeps him in the fold until his age-36 season. Is he going to stay in center field forever? Even more than ever before, center field is a young man’s position and not many guys are playing it into their 30s. Is the plan to move Hicks to the corners and do kind of the same thing Brett Gardner does now where he’ll sort of fill in at center from time-to-time, but they absolutely do not do it full-time. What does it mean, defensively, for Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and/or prospects like Estevan Florial? There’s already speculation that at least one of Judge or Stanton will have to move to first base long-term because of their respective sizes and the eventual effects of age. Oh well- that’s something for future me to have to consider.
- Kind of weird that his salary will go down by a million dollars for the final two years, huh? He’ll be in his mid-30s by then so I guess it makes sense, but it’s odd to look at.
- Who’s up next for an extension? The Yanks have now locked up both Hicks and Sevy for the foreseeable future. So who is next? I would say Dellin Betances and Didi Gregorius are the most likely suspects, given their impending free agencies. Maybe they get a discount on Didi because he is hurt? I’d be down for it. I don’t think Judge is getting an extension, even though we all want him here forever. He’s under rookie contract parameters until after he turns 30 and they don’t really need to commit now.
- On the note of the seven-year deal for cheap AAV, I thought the Yankees were averse to long-term deals and that’s why they didn’t care about Machado or Harper? I think the Yankees had one of the best offseasons in baseball, but it would have been even better if they stomped on the proverbial balls of the rest of the league and signed one of those dudes to a long-term deal. It wasn’t Machado/Harper or bust, but this feels like the team spitting in our hands after we agreed that long-term deals weren’t happening anymore. C’est la vie.
Anyway, I’m happy this happened today. It gives us all something to discuss that isn’t a spring training cliché or talking about the offseason being boring- even though the Yankees did a lot.
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