New York Yankees cut struggling OF Aaron Hicks

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

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.

Orioles sign OF Aaron Hicks, put Cedric Mullins on 10-day IL with groin strain

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Orioles signed outfielder Aaron Hicks less than 24 hours after Cedric Mullins went down with a strained right groin.

Mullins went on the 10-day injured list, but the Orioles are hoping Hicks can help defensively in the spacious outfield at Camden Yards. Hicks was released last week by the New York Yankees with more than 2 1/2 seasons left on his contract.

“We had noticed that he was a free agent even before the injury,” Orioles general manager Mike Elias said. “When the injury occurred and it became pretty clear this was going to be an IL, it seemed like a good fit even more so at that time.”

The Orioles are responsible for paying Hicks just $483,871, a prorated share of the $720,000 minimum salary. The Yankees owe him the rest of his $10.5 million salary this year, plus $9.5 million in each of the next two seasons and a $1 million buyout of a 2026 team option.

The 33-year-old Hicks hit just .188 in 28 games for the Yankees this year.

“We have stuff that we look at from a scouting and evaluation perspective,” Elias said. “It’s very different from just looking at the back of a baseball card, and we hope that we get a bounceback from anyone we bring here.”

Hicks batted .216 last season.

“Hopefully that’s a good thing for him,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said of the Baltimore deal. “A lot of time here and a lot of good things happened for him here. I know the last couple of years have been a struggle. But hopefully it’s a good opportunity for him and certainly wish him well. Not too well being in our division and a team we’re chasing, but hopefully it’s a really good fit for him.”

Mullins left a loss to Cleveland after he pulled up while running out an infield grounder. Outfielder Colton Cowser – the fifth pick in the draft two years ago – is hitting .331 at Triple-A Norfolk, but he went on the IL in the past couple weeks.

“Certainly he was building a case towards promotion consideration prior to his injury and prior to Cedric’s injury,” Elias said. “We’ll just see where we’re at.”

Hicks was active for the game but not in the starting lineup. Austin Hays, normally Baltimore’s left field, was in Mullins’ usual spot in center.

When the wall in left at Camden Yards was pushed significantly back before last season, it made left field a bigger challenge defensively.

“In this park … you really need two center fielders,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “Aaron’s got a lot of center-field experience. Played left field here before also. Brings the defensive aspect and then the switch-hitting.”