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Yankees, Aaron Hicks agree to seven-year, $70 million extension

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Jack Curry of YES Network reports that the Yankees and center fielder Aaron Hicks have agreed to a seven-year, $70 million contract extension. The team is expected to announce the extension later today.

The deal will begin this season, so it will run through 2025. There’s no word if it contains additional option years but, as it is, the deal covers him through his mid-30s. UPDATE: There is a club option for 2026.

Hicks, 29, is starting his fourth season with the Yankees following three seasons with the Twins. Last year he hit .248/.366/.467 (123 OPS+) with 27 homers, 79 RBI and 11 stolen bases.

Hicks would’ve been eligible for free agency after the 2019 season. In the past, a plus-hitting center fielder signing early for a $10 million average annual salary would’ve never happened because to do so would mean leaving millions on the table. The free agent market of the past two offseasons, however, has changed the calculus.

One cannot begrudge Hicks taking $70 million and setting himself and his family up for life but the current market is pushing down all salaries, not just those of free agents.

Indians to activate José Ramírez tomorrow

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Indians slugger José Ramírez broke the hamate bone on his right hand last month and had surgery on August 26 to repair it. At the time he was given the same schedule most hamate bone surgery recipients get: 5-7 weeks if all goes well. Apparently all has gone better-than-well for Ramírez, however, because the Indians are going to activate him tomorrow.

That’s good news for the Indians, who are in a dead heat with the Tampa Bay Rays for the AL’s second Wild Card with six games to go.

Ramírez, like his team, started the season slowly, but he had turned things on in July and August to help fuel Cleveland’s surge into playoff contention. He hit .320/.340/.680 with nine homers and 25 driven in in July and was hitting .321/.372/.705 with six homers and 20 driven in August when he went down. Basically, he had been a better version of the Ramírez who won the Silver Slugger Award and came in third in the MVP balloting in 2018, at least for those two months.

It’ll be interesting to see how rusty he is or if the surgery has sapped his power or bat speed. We’ll only have six games in which to see it, though.