Angels send message to flailing roster with harsh Aaron Hicks decision

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Tampa Bay Rays v Los Angeles Angels
Tampa Bay Rays v Los Angeles Angels / Meg Oliphant/GettyImages

How about some unexpected roster news on a Monday afternoon, LA Angels fans? The team delivered a bit of a haymaker when they shuffled around some names after being swept by the Minnesota Twins.

Aaron Hicks was the roster casualty, as he was designated for assignment. The Angels recalled pitcher Davis Daniel from Triple-A Salt Lake and selected the contract of infielder Cole Tucker. Pitcher Zack Kristofak was also optioned back to Triple-A.

Though Hicks probably wasn't long for Anaheim -- he was signed to the league minimum because the New York Yankees are paying the remainder of his contract -- it was fairly surprising to see him jettisoned just a month into the season.

But perhaps this is the Angels sending a message to the rest of the roster, letting every other underperformer know that nobody's safe. LAA's outfield situation has been discouraging outside of Mike Trout and Taylor Ward (and only a recent surge from former top prospect Jo Adell), and many felt Mickey Moniak could be on the chopping block after his significant backslide.

Hicks was the lone name the team could get rid of without absorbing much of a hit -- at this stage in his career, he's probably not going to make the Angels regret the decision, and it's not like he was being paid a prohibitive amount.

Angels send message to flailing roster with harsh Aaron Hicks decision

Hicks was hitting .140 with a .415 OPS in 18 games with the Angels. We'd argue he didn't get enough of a shake to actually catch on, but then again he shouldn't need over a month to find a semblance of footing. He struck out 26 times and walked just six in 63 plate appearances. That's bad for someone who's been in the league for quite some time.

As of late, Adell has picked up his production, but fans are always unsure how long that will last. Moniak, on the other hand, is hitting .143 with a .414 OPS, which was essentially what Hicks was doing. Younger guys like Nolan Schanuel and Zach Neto in addition to veteran Brandon Drury are also having a tough go of it.

The Angels sit at 10-18 after spoiling a golden opportunity with the rest of the division stumbling out of the gate. There is officially no more time to waste, and the Hicks DFA shows that the front office is displaying some urgency.

Hicks' Saturday appearance came in a blowout when he took the mound for the first time in his career and surrendered a home run in what ended up being a 16-5 loss. On Sunday, his last day as an Angel, he went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in an 11-5 loss.

Now that he's gone, the Angels will likely continue trimming the roster over the next few weeks and months with players who aren't carving out a role for themselves beyond 2024. Consider it a warning.