In the grand scheme of things I like and things I don't like, there's really A LOT to like about the Yankees right now. Aaron Judge is right out in front of the early season MVP race (maybe behind Trout but why nitpick this early) and looks amazing. Stanton is crushing while playing a solid outfield (thank you Yankees for finally moving him off the permanent DH spot) and Rizzo maybe off his early hot streak but still looks like a very good fit. Add in Josh Donaldson playing a really good third base and a bat that's heating and the offense is looking so much better than last year.
I could continue with things I like (good starting pitching especially by Nestor the Mighty Mustache and some really good pitching out of the pen with the law firm of Holmes and King leading the way) and only have a few things I don't like (a little more length out of the starters would be nice, Gallo reaching average ops, one of the catchers to show some life in his bat, etc) these are mostly minor nitpicks that can hopefully work themselves out over the course of a long season.
But I am very concerned about Hicks. I was very worried before the season started and nothing he's done has changed my feeling. The defense was looking bad before his last injury and isn't looking any better. The wrist injury from last year was very troubling and pinstripe wrote about some players who came back and were fairly healthy and effective (I believe Joey Bats was their example) I remember how putrid Teixeira was coming back from the same injury.
Now Sexy Texy wasn't done after that injury. He followed up the next season at age 35 with 31 homers and a 144 ops+ in a season where he had a good shot at a top 5 MVP finish if he didn't foul that ball off his shin and break his leg. Do we think Hicks can have a similar comeback? He has roughly 3 years 30 mil still owed to him after this season. Is it worth holding on to him hoping he comes back to a better form or to keep as a 4th outfielder?
That still leads to what to do for this season. This is definitely a hot topic and I've seen several suggestions in the comments. Some say the Gallo, Judge, Stanton rotation should become the regular group and Hicks is the 4th outfielder. I sort of like that but wonder if the Yanks would really commit to this for any long period of time given they've so far seemed reluctant to play Judge back to back days in center and seem very committed to rest and DH time for both he and Stanton to stay sharp.
I've seen suggestions that Florial is the answer. He's doing okay in triple A with a .794 ops in 30 games and with the Yanks current rotation, he'd likely be batting ninth without too much pressure while Judge continues his limited time in center. So is this the time to give Florial a real extended look in the bigs? Of course doing this requires a roster spot and the question of what the heck do you do with Hicks?
Same thing with any trade proposal. Are the Yanks content to send Hicks out along with a bunch of money just to clear a spot for a new player? Who is this new player and what do the Yanks have to give up to get him?
For me personally, I would like to see Florial get some reps and if he busts over the next month or two, there's still time for the trade or at least you've pushed back to late enough in the year that I'd feel better about using the Gallo, Judge, Stanton configuration for the majority of the rest of the year. Unfortunately that means they'd have to make some decision on Hicks and I don't think the Yanks are ready to do that. Maybe the more realistic answer is more Tim Locastro when he gets healthy (though to be clear that's a pretty crappy answer).
What do you think? I'm very interested to hear your thoughts and thank you for reading.