Rather than sending Aaron Hicks to Triple-A for a month to get some additional seasoning and delay his eventual free agency for an extra year the Twins decided he was ready to make the jump from Double-A to the majors as their Opening Day center fielder.
It has gone about as poorly as possible, with Hicks starting his career 2-for-43 (.047) with 20 strikeouts. Not only do the 20 strikeouts leading baseball, Hicks has tied the all-time record for strikeouts by a rookie through his first 10 career games:
Aaron Hicks 2013 20
Brett Jackson 2012 20
Matt Williams 1987 19
Russell Branyan 1999 18
Ray Durham 1995 18
Not exactly the type of record you want to be setting, although it’s worth noting that Matt Williams and Ray Durham went on to have very good careers and Russell Branyan had a lot of productive seasons. And just short of cracking the above top-five is Giancarlo Stanton, who had 17 strikeouts through 10 career games as a rookie in 2010 and … well, he’s awesome.
Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.
Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.
The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.
If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.