CINCINNATI — The New York Yankees cut Aaron Hicks before the game against the Cincinnati Reds and owe the struggling outfielder about $27.6 million from more than 2 1/2 seasons remaining of a seven-year, $70 million contract.
Hicks was designated for assignment to make room for outfielder Greg Allen, acquired in a trade with Boston.
The 33-year-old Hicks was batting .188 with a homer and five RBIs in 28 games this season. He agreed to a seven-year, $70 million contract with New York in February 2019 but injured his right elbow that Aug. 3, missed the rest of the regular season and for five postseason games, homering in Game 5 of the AL Championship Series against Houston’s Justin Verlander.
Hicks had Tommy John surgery with Los Angeles Dodgers head team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache that Oct. 30.
He returned the following July for the pandemic-shortened season but was never the same player. Hicks hit .212 with 19 homers and 80 RBIs in 244 games after the surgery, down from .236 with 82 homers and 276 RBIs in 654 games before the injury. His 2021 season was cut short May 12 because of a torn tendon sheath in his left wrist that required season-ending surgery on March 26.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone described his talk with Hicks as “quiet” and “somber.”
“This is family,” Boone said. “You go through everything with these guys. Obviously, with Aaron, some ups and downs. He’s had some really good seasons. It wasn’t an easy conversation to have, but one we felt was necessary.”
New York has seven days to trade Hicks or place him on waivers, and given his contract there is little chance he will be claimed. New York owes Hicks $7,620,968 for the remainder of this year’s $10.5 million salary plus salaries of $9.5 million in each of the next two seasons and a $1 million buyout of a 2026 team option.
Hicks broke into the majors with Minnesota in 2013. He was traded to New York in November 2015 and has a .230 average with 101 homers and 356 RBIs in 898 career games.
New York also traded minor league right-hander Diego Hernández and cash to the Red Sox for Allen.
The 30-year-old Allen is beginning his second stint with New York after appearing in 15 games with the Yankees in 2021. He also has played with Cleveland, San Diego and Pittsburgh during his six big league seasons.