After months of little activity, the Los Angeles Angels have been among the more active teams around the league, fortifying their bullpen in a big way and now finally making their first position player signing of the winter, inking Aaron Hicks to a MLB deal.
LA Angels sign veteran OF Aaron Hicks to MLB deal
Aaron Hicks is far from the big name any Angels fan would want to see as the first position player addition of the offseason. The Angels lost Shohei Ohtani and have shown absolutely no desperation to improve what was only an average offense with the reigning MVP. While Hicks is not the best hitter the Angels should sign this offseason, he's certainly a much-needed upgrade to the bench.
There are two factors that make Hicks such an intriguing fit for the Angels. First, it's the price. With Hicks being released by the Yankees this past season while under contract, the Angels are only paying him the league minimum. That means they save a whole lot of money they can theoretically invest elsewhere.
Second, it's his fit as a potential fourth outfielder. With Mickey Moniak struggling mightily against left-handed pitching, Hicks makes for an ideal platoon partner. This past season, the 34-year-old slashed .349/.446/.524 with three home runs in 74 plate appearances. Small sample, but one that is certainly exciting.
Throughout his career, the switch-hitting Hicks has been far better against lefties than righties, posting an OPS 56 points higher. He can play all three outfield spots (although he'd be better in a corner spot) and can even run a bit too, posting four double digit stolen base seasons.
Hicks being added to an outfield already consisting of Taylor Ward, Mike Trout, Jo Adell, and Moniak raises some questions about what'll happen with the logjam. We know Trout isn't going anywhere, but any of the other three can potentially be had in a trade. Signing Hicks and flipping an outfielder like Adell for pitching help would make a lot of sense.
The Angels can't really go wrong by signing a veteran hitter who just performed well in limited action for Baltimore this past season to a deal worth the minimum. What happens after this is what most fans will be paying attention to.