Just under a week after the announcement that center fielder Aaron Hicks will undergo wrist surgery, Yankees skipper Aaron Boone today confirmed to reporters that the operation is now expected to put an end to Hicks’ 2021 season (Twitter link via the YES Network’s Jack Curry). That’s seemed possible, if not likely, since the time the surgery was announced, but the only prior indication on a timeline had been a “months-long” recovery period.
The news on Hicks comes less than an hour after the Yankees announced a series of roster moves. Corey Kluber and Luke Voit were placed on the injured list, as was expected following yesterday’s announcements on their own injuries. Coming up to the big league roster in their place are righty Albert Abreu and outfield prospect Estevan Florial.
With Hicks down for the season and Brett Gardner struggling mightily, there would appear to be a door open for Florial to claim some playing time. The 23-year-old has played 312 games in center field over his professional career and was at one point touted as the organization’s center fielder of the future. Florial was near-universally ranked among the game’s 50 best prospects prior to the 2018 season, though his stock has dipped since that time.
It’s also worth pointing out that while there’s an ostensible opportunity for Florial to seize a starting job now, he’s been struggling tremendously himself down in Triple-A. Florial hit .229/.308/.603 in nine Double-A games to begin his season, but he’s gone 6-for-34 with 11 punchouts in 40 plate appearances since moving up to Triple-A. The 17 games he’s played between Double-A and Triple-A in 2021 represent his only experience above A-ball, save for the single game he played for the Yankees at the MLB level last summer. Put more simply: there’s a very good chance he needs more development. Nevertheless, Boone indicated Florial will get the start in center for the second game of today’s twin bill.
Florial wasn’t recalled as the 27th man for that doubleheader — righty Nick Nelson has that designation — but it could still be a very brief stay for him in the Majors. Boone said that activating Giancarlo Stanton from the injured list tomorrow is “in play” as an option (Twitter link via MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch), and the Yankees will need to make a corresponding move to get him on the roster. That doesn’t necessarily mean Florial’s stint will be a one-and-done showing, but it’s at least possible that’s the direction they go.
Whether he’s in the Majors or back in Scranton, Florial’s performance will bear monitoring in the weeks to come. With few other center field options on the roster, that’d be one obvious area for the Yankees to look to address via the trade market in the event that Florial’s struggles continue.
What an awful contract they gave Hicks. They already had Stanton at an even more ridiculous rate and Judge to worry about.
Cashman at his best. I had to say it to give Ducky a hard time.
Ducky Buckin Fent
I see you, @hockeyjohn.
When will Hal start to realize that Cash’s skills in spotting talent have declined? Hicks is a waste of 70mm.
In Cash’s defense, all GMs pick losers. It’s the nature of the business. Name one GM who has not signed a player at Hicks’ level (not the mega contracts only) because they either believe in the player or expect better things in the future. You can’t have superstars at every position so you need to fill part of the roster with these types since minor talent is not always there for every position you need.
BTW, I’m not a Hicks fan at all.
@darth i agree every gm has a few moves they wish they can redo, just look at the cards and the carp deal or mikolas. btw even if it was a bad deal i’m really pulling matt and i hope he can find some of that 13 magic and that mik heals quickly and can pitch again
another player i forgot about that was a worse signing than carp was mike leake. mo must of been tripping his balls off to sign mike to that deal.
All GMs don’t have Cashman’s budget to work with.
The first-place Rays are paying their entire team less than the Yankees are paying for the three top salaries on their payroll. Do you want to claim that Cashman’s return on the dollar comes anywhere near Eric Neander’s?
It’s about time that Yankee fans stopped giving Cashman a pass because his massively compensated teams have made the postseason repeatedly but haven’t won it in 11 years. Can you imagine the success if you combined the Rays’ talent evaluation with Cashman’s budget?
Francisco Lindor on line 1
Yes, I’m sure that’s exactly why the Yankees haven’t gone straight after Eric… he’s so fantastic that he personally overcomes the direct relationship between money, talent, production, team cohesion, and opposition performance.
That argument has taken a complex, multifaceted position and pared it down to “My GM is better than your GM because reasons and less money and stuff.”
I don’t think Cashman is the best GM but a larger budget certainly does not equate to an easier job as a GM. Maybe aspects of it can be easier, but your position is far too oversimplified….intentionally.
1. I’m a Yankee fan.
2. “a larger budget certainly does not equate to an easier job as a GM”
Let’s flip that and see if it makes sense:
“a smaller budget certainly doesn’t make a GM’s job harder.”
Does that sound right to you?
It doesn’t to me.
@Yankee Clipper I have to disagree with your comment about the larger budget. The reason the Yankees budget is so high is because they draft horribly. They rely mainly on free agents because they draft like crap. That’s on Cash. Even most of the prospects they trade away go on to become hot garbage. It looked like they were gonna hit big with Judge but he plays injury to injury plus they waited until he was what 32 to call him up? Obviously I’m joking but I’m kind of not. They wait too long to give prospects a shot and they almost seemed used up by the time they get the call. Garcia got called up out of pure need and desperation last year. If not for injuries his call up would not have come for another three years if at all. He probably would be traded for another oft injured high priced outfielder. Cash doesn’t use his budget to solidify his teams he uses it to cover up the fact that he can’t scout high school or college talent, it’s that simple. Has Jasson Dominguez played a game yet?
Based on what you’ve written it seems we agree. I think everything you wrote is completely accurate, except I don’t think the drafting is completely on Cash. That’s on several in management, including Cash, but they’ve done a good job with pitching it seems.
I never said you were not a Yankees fan. In fact, you’re now my friend for life because you are. My only point was that I don’t think Cashman is as bad as so many write. He’s not the best. I also think the Rays performance/budget, although deserving of proper credit, is elevated to superior status in many cases.
Cashman has the budget to acquire stars whom GMs with lesser resources can’t afford to keep. He can extend players who produce.
Tampa Bay’s GM has to continually cycle through players because he doesn’t have that luxury. To say I’m not a fan of the Rays is an understatement, but I have to acknowledge the superiority of their talent evaluation and player development.
Ironically, Cashman’s big budget has allowed him to make some of his biggest blunders, like trading to acquire the extraneous DH skills of oft-injured Stanton and the albatross contract that came with him.
The fact that Cashman keeps his job despite having wasted so much of the Steinbrenners’ money without netting a championship seems to support my suspicion that the passion for winning so manifest in King George was not inherited by his son. Hal seems content with the financial success of the franchise. We’re fans. He’s a businessman.
I really can’t begrudge him his practicality. Championships or not, Yankee fans keep buying tickets. Why would a businessman spend money that he doesn’t have to spend? The Athletics’ owner is the billionaire heir to the GAP fortune and he doesn’t.
FredMcGriff for the HOF
One decent year for Hicks in 2018 and “Ninja Cash” took the bait.
Ok Florial, time to show what you got. In any event, he ain’t worse than what Gardy and Frazier are right now.
I was just going to say this verbatim.
Ducky Buckin Fent
Careful with the “he can’t be any worse than ______” stuff, fellas. Remember 1B between Tex & Voit? “He can’t be any worse” was almost a Yankee mantra.
If you care to recall, yes, it very well could get worse & oftentimes did.
True Ducky but Gardy should have retired last year. He couldn’t catch up to the fastball then and it isn’t going to get better. His defense is still good though. And I just don’t know what’s wrong with Frazier. He can’t be this bad.
Ducky Buckin Fent
Hey, if I was a MLB player, I would need retirement forced upon me as well.
So, I’ve mo qualms with GGBG playing it out.
Need something to happen in CF. Hoping Florial is the answer. A LH power/speed guy? Gimme, gimme, gimme.
@Ducky, typical softees coming in with the Yankee hate…. tiresome.
Florial is young/talented. This will be some good exposure for him in the Bigs.
Florial batting .203 so far between Double A and Triple A (,176 at triple A). I would not expect much yet. He is not ready.
Ducky Buckin Fent
In today’s mailbag, Mr Dierkes went through the potential trade candidates. Wasn’t the most impressive list. Particularly if the Yanks cling to staying under the Dreaded First CBT Threshold (which strikes me as penny wise but pound foolish).
Yanks commitment to resetting the CBT will definitely be challenged this year. Busting it this year might be jeopardizing plans they have for next. That extra $30 mill looking like a big juicy carrot right now for sure.
Ducky Buckin Fent
Before 2017, the Yanks paid the tax every single year. It wasn’t an issue. I really don’t see why suddenly it’s this Big Deal that purposefully handicaps our club’s chances.
Trimming $40+MM off payroll in one season always meant we’d be cutting corners somewhere. Again, looking at how a playoff series is worth at least $20MM in real, immediate revenue I have to question this particular fiscal approach & line in the sand.
The tax rates and penalties were greatly increased. Over $40 mill and you start losing draft position. If you exceed for a third year and $40 mill your rate is 92.5% and you drop draft position. But it all resets with 1 under threshold year. For NY it’s this year. Last year the Cubs and dodgers both reset. That’s why they signed Bauer to that deal. They will most likely reset in 2023 again.
Ducky Buckin Fent
I know the math, @Winfield.
But, I am not advocating for a $252+MM payroll which is when the harshest penalties are affixed. Yanks could add ~ $15MM to payroll as of right now & would pay a fine of around 5 mil.
Now I don’t want to appear overly cavalier in re to 5 million bucks. It’s not like that around here, man.
But if they were to miss out in advancing another round due to reticence over that fine than they would be making a financially foolish decision.
Yankee fans: Call up Florial! He can’t be worse than X.
Yankees: Call up Florial before he is ready
Yankees fans two weeks later: This guy is a bum!
That about sums it up lol
Maybe Andujar can get some time in and rediscover his former self?
Andujar’s former self was never a Center fielder.
Good luck Florial it’s time to shine. It’s now or never.
Kid is only 23. It’s not now or never. I don’t expect him to stay up too long unless he really rakes, which is unlikely but possible. I do believe I’ve had enough of Ford. DFA him already and promote Gittens.
But his future self might be an adequate LF/DH.
This is my point.
Abreu makes all the sense in the world. He’s done well in both the majors and minors this year. The fact that they are bringing up Florial (who is struggling in AAA) really shows how serious the Yankees are about staying under the CBT this season. In year’s past, unless they had a can’t miss prospect tearing it up at AA or AAA, the Yankees would have dealt for a veteran OF as soon as the heard the news on Hicks. Instead they are placing a lot of hope on a youngster who just doesn’t look ready to play in the majors yet. Florial certainly has the potential to be a plus major league OF but it’s so out of character for NY to try and develop such a player in the majors before he is ready. It will be really interesting to see what happens if they get a few more key injuries as their depth is really being tested right now.
There is speculation that it’s only a temporary call up as Stanton is expected back in a couple of days. I also don’t know what became of the DeShields trade talks.
The contract extension to Hicks never made sense. Between the injuries and the others in the OF and future commitments it was just a bad deal on the Yanks part. Good for Hicks since he got paid though.
Yankees could probably use Tauchman back from my Giants. Yankees fans, the other piece to that trade; Wandy Peralta, how is he pitching?
Other than giving up 4 runs in the last three outings, he’s been pretty good.
Who’s next Stanton or Judge?
Lots more strikeouts coming to the Yankees lineup
If they could just figure out how to get someone to run, hit and catch for Stanton. He would stop getting hurt and going on the DL.
Go back to the end Babe Ruth’s career when Ruth didn’t have to run the bases for himself. Just hit and have a runner waiting at first base. Of course in today’s MLB that would require 52 man rosters…
I agree call up Gittens but the problem is Yankees I think are in a roster crunch with the 40 man. Gittens not on it and someone will need to go. I could be wrong or Gittens would be in the Bronx already
Florial is massively overrated. Has done nothing to justify his status as a top prospect.
i tend to agree
That’s why he dropped out of the top 100 and is currently around #10 for NY.
Lee Mazzilli for HOF
His shot is now. Seems around the league a lot of guys are getting chances with obseen amount of injuries.
They might have to give Florial a shot since there’s no one worth pursuing in a trade. With all the athletic talent in the game today, it’s remarkable that there are so few quality centerfielders. With so many of the best prospects being shortstops, it might be time to start moving some of these guys to the outfield.
Hicks contract a disaster for the Yankees, but it’s hard to blame Cashman too much when Hicks had 3.9 and 4.4 BWAR in ’17 and ’18. Now, he can stay on the field. Remember they got him for the immortal John Ryan Murphy.
The Hicks trade at the time was a no brainer. Who knew Hicks would turn into the second coming of Greg Bird
Lee Mazzilli for HOF
Good comparison. What IL is Bird on these days? Another was Nick Johnson
Cap & Crunch
They cant all be Nick Swishers!
Seriously guys, the hit rate on free agents IS NOT good! For Anybody!
They Key is too have that good cheap nucleus homegrown (or traded for early years/Hello Sd ) too offset the budget
There was nothing wrong with the Hicks deal at the time…If we Monday morning every FA signing then there’s going to be a lot of Monday mornings and who the hell likes Mondays !!
Re injuries, I’m reviewing MLB.com’s pre-season list of top 100 players now. I will have accurate numbers later, but, of the 100, 40 or so have spent time on the IL in the season’s first two months. About half of those 40 are on the IL now. Not included are guys like Mookie Betts and Manny Machado who have missed time without going on the IL. All the injuries are making this the least-fun season in my 54 years following the game. I wouldn’t expect the massive number of injuries to stop anytime soon. Injury fatigue has me thinking of taking a month or two off from baseball. It is more discouraging than all the strikeouts.
Cap & Crunch
Wouldn’t blame anyone for taking June/July off this year….Its been tough, real tough, for everybody (outside Boston it seems), who somehow has had remarkable luck with injs , Covid, Fa signings KiKI +GR +Perez, rebirths JD and Eovaldi, development Denvers, and lottery tickets Pivetta all hitting
I think the SD/LAD race has a chance to be epic tho, Im super impressed by SD so far. That pen has been nails and the starting pitching brilliant.
There’s also the element that we know SD will push the envelope 100% whereas the Dodgers will be looking to scale back the SP load 2nd half in creative ways ….Will be some tense moments balancing what will need to be done – Right now our top 4 are projected over 200 inns…No way No how thats happening outside Bauer ….I dont think they have had a pitcher hit 190 in like 5 years and this coming off last years shortened season …
Hopefully Gonzo is 100, they’ll need inns from Price/Nelson and I still think they will need some type of Jose Urena fella as well to help pull the sled in the grueling months
@CeyHey You’re allowed to take time off. There was period in time where I was hardcore into fantasy baseball for good money; some with friends and some on pro websites. I did well and was pretty burnt out with baseball by September. It really sucked the joy out of the game for me. I took off for an entire offseason without following transactions. Haven’t played again since.
Cap & Crunch
@ Bleacher- Amen…Amen…Amen…….
Fellow former hardcore fantasy and DFS guy myself
I actually went years making more money (primarily DFS) at fantasy than my real job . It was awful , the amount of time and research put in was like imprisonment on the brain.
No Joy; just numbers , % win shares , rinse and repeat
Retired now as well, what a blessing what a blessing for all the reasons you stated
If you played in the Yahoo Pro or DFS circuit you’ll prolly remember my name that traveled with me forever…(KG Inc?) I was 3rd in DFS win share % when I left in all Yahoo and played anything and EVERYTHING $ …….strictly Yahoo, they were always the most comfortable for me to maneuver within
In July, my wife is having a re-do on a knee replacement surgery from last summer that hasn’t gone as expected. She’ll be off for about seven weeks. I’m thinking of going non-baseball for at least some of those weeks. Just take life in a different direction. Plus, I’m working on a writing project that baseball keeps getting in the way of. As an east-coast fan of a west-coast team, my sleeping habits are terrible (which will play into the writing project after this one).
Cap & Crunch, Pads are good. David Weathers has become something of an x-factor. No need to promote Gore. Just get Weathers stretched out beyond the four innings he’s been pitching.
I think the Dodgers will take the division as they will be up around 105 wins, but the Padres are fun to watch. As a Dodger fan, I more than welcome the competition.
Cap & Crunch
Oh boy, that must be rough w the typical 3.5 hr Dodger game – 1;30 AM game probably ends
I welcome it too, especially this year, id probably check out this year if there was No comp until mid Sept
I think they take it too, and the offence gets much better 2nd half allowing the Sp inns to be better managed
Price was great today and Peters made me eat my words; happy for him
@CeyHey Just go dark on baseball, man. It will always be around while your passion for writing can wane. I quit following the NBA because it was also getting in the way of more important stuff. Also, the Knicks have been terrible for a long while.
I stopped following the NBA in 2007. Opening week. the first days of NBA TV for free. I had the drink and snacks ready, sat down to watch, and the TV went “poof.” I took it at a sign from above and have not watched TV since, aside from MLB.TV. We do not own TV set, which is weird because I am still great at TV trivia from the 60s and 70s. A pile of useless information stored in my brain.
It has been my way of life going back to the late 60s. I didn’t become a baseball fan until after we moved from Los Angeles to New Jersey in 1965 when I was 7. Naturally, I chose my hometown Dodgers as my favorite team. It’s interesting how my bad sleeping habits have evolved. In the early days, The ’71 race where the Dodgers finished a game behind the Giants was crazy. I would stay up late listening to score updates on all-news radio. As technology advanced, I kept finding new ways to follow the games from the wrong coast. I’m a night owl because of it.
An interesting thing about my wrong-coast fandom: Because I didn’t fly, I didn’t make it to Dodger Stadium until August 2018 — at age 60! The first night was a Grandal walk-off HR in the 10th against the Brewers. Next night a record-setting 21-5 game. Then came the Astros in a World Series rematch. I plan on writing a book on the 50-year odyssey. A bunch of (I hope) funny stories amongst my bittersweet memories.
Cap & Crunch. Kenley has turned the clock back. He and Treinen are quite a late-inning pair.
I’ve been rooting like heck for Peters. Great to see. A shame he got called out on what was ball four the next time he came up because he really handled that at-bat well. I will adopt him as my second-favorite Dodger after Max the MVP. Another favorite is Lux since my sister lived in Kenosha for decades until a couple of years ago. I adopt strugglers before they’re housebroken.
Aaron Hicks hurt?
“Yankees Promote Estevan Florial; Aaron Hicks Expected To Miss Rest Of Season”
It’s not often that Yankee fans get two pieces of encouraging news on the same day.
What’s hidden in all this is the lack of home grown talent again. Signing Hicks was an iffy proposition considering his injury history, but true centerfielders are hard to come by, much less with the offensive talent acceptable to NY fans. Gardner is still here because he can still play CF and comes cheap. However, his struggles at the plate will only grow as he can no longer catch up to good fastballs. Yankees have to draft better, plain and simple. There is only so much out there in the free agent market, usually overpriced players beginning their decline.