The Yankees have signed Aaron Hicks to a seven-year extension, the team announced Monday. The extension is worth $70 million, reports Jack Curry of the YES Network.
The deal replaces the one-year, $6 million deal Hicks agreed to before the season to avoid arbitration, runs through the 2025 season, and contains a club option for the 2026 season, the team said.
The deal is a well-below market one, which is an enormous coup for the Yankees.
The 29-year-old Hicks was in his final year of arbitration and had been set to hit free agency after the 2019 season.
If Hicks had hit the open market after the season, he would've been one of the most sought-after free agent outfielders in a group that is set to include Yasiel Puig, potentially J.D. Martinez, and not many other outfielders of note. And in a pretty barren market for outfielders in general, Hicks would have been head and shoulders above all other free agent center fielders.
Instead of taking himself to free agency, Hicks -- who has battled injuries throughout his career -- took the guaranteed payday, while the Yanks got a team-friendly deal that gives them their center fielder for the next eight years.
While the free agent market has been a scary one the last two seasons for players -- especially those over 30 years old -- a player of Hicks' caliber taking a deal with such a low average annual value ($10 million) is a bit of a surprise.
For example, Andrew McCutchen -- who is entering his age-32 season and whose skills have deteriorated on both sides of the ball -- recently snagged a three-year, $50 million deal from the Phillies this offseason.
But when it comes to Hicks, it could be that the injury concerns (he has played over 100 games just twice in his six-year career) made a deal like this too good for him to pass up).
Hicks is coming off a career-year where he hit .248/.366/.467 with 27 homers and 18 doubles in 137 games played while being worth -3 DRS in the outfield.
With the Yanks now having Hicks locked up through 2026, it also likely ends any pipe dream that had them making a late push to sign free agent outfielder Bryce Harper.