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 includes Mike Trout, Taylor Ward, Mickey Moniak and Jo Adell.
Hicks is still under the seven-year, $70 million contract he originally signed with the New York Yankees, which runs 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 everything , less the major league minimum of $740,000 the Angels will pay him in 2024.
Hicks, 34, was released by the Yankees after hitting just .188/.263/.261 through the first two months of the 2023 season, but improved dramatically when he was traded to the division rival Baltimore Orioles, and his slash line increased to .275/. .381/.425 in the remaining 65 games. Hicks' best stretch was from 2017 to 2020, in which he posted an .819 OPS and hit 60 home runs and 8.7 FanGraphs Wins Above Replacement in 338 games.
Hicks is a switch-hitter who has played primarily center field but also has plenty of experience at both outfield corners. His addition could give the Angels the opportunity to use one of their other outfielders to acquire a starting pitcher or slugger via trade, but he also serves as a crucial asset given the questions surrounding Adell's development.
Hicks' presence is not expected to cause Trout to move away from center field.
“Mike is our center fielder,” Angels general manager Perry Minasian said in a video conference with local reporters. “We’ve learned this over the last few years, at least since I’ve been here – you need players who can play multiple positions. You don't know what will happen. He's someone who plays center; he played center.” Last year, Baltimore was obviously a very good team in certain cases that made the playoffs. He can play right, he can play left, he can really throw, so he’s someone that can help us in a lot of different ways.”