Angels, OF Aaron Hicks agree to deal; Yankees on hook for $19M

The Los Angeles Angels agreed to terms on a one-year contract with veteran outfielder Aaron Hicks on Monday, adding him to an outfield mix that involves Mike Trout, Taylor Ward, Mickey Moniak and Jo Adell.

Hicks is still under the seven-year, $70 million contract he initially signed with the New York Yankees, which extends through the 2025 season. The deal pays Hicks $9.5 million in 2024 and $9.5 million in 2025 and includes a $1 million buyout for a club option in 2026. The Yankees are still responsible for all of it minus the major league minimum of $740,000 the Angels will pay him in 2024.

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Hicks, 34, was released by the Yankees after slashing just .188/.263/.261 through the first two months of the 2023 season but improved dramatically upon joining the division-rival Baltimore Orioles, his slash line jumping to .275/.381/.425 over the remaining 65 games. Hicks’ best stretch came from 2017 to 2020, during which he carried an .819 OPS while accumulating 60 home runs and 8.7 FanGraphs wins above replacement in 338 games.

Hicks is a switch-hitter who has played mostly center field, but he also has plenty of experience at both outfield corners. His addition could free up a path for the Angels to use one of their other outfielders to get a starting pitcher or an impact bat via trade, but he also serves as critical depth given the questions surrounding Adell’s development.

Hicks’ presence isn’t expected to prompt Trout to move off center field.

“Mike’s our center fielder,” Angels general manager Perry Minasian said on a video conference with local reporters. “We’ve learned this over the last couple of years, at least since I’ve been here — you need players that can play multiple positions.

You don’t know what’s gonna happen. He’s somebody that’s played center; he played center last year for Baltimore in certain instances, obviously a very good team that made the playoffs. He can play right, he can play left, he can really throw, so he’s somebody that can help us in a lot of different ways.”

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