Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Yanks, Twins Make Deal

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Yanks, Twins Make Deal

Article excerpt

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman opened a big league path for slugging prospect Gary Sanchez and set the stage for a potentially larger trade with two deals at Wednesday's GM meetings.

Switch-hitting outfielder Aaron Hicks was acquired from the Twins in exchange for catcher John Ryan Murphy, creating an opportunity for Sanchez to serve as Brian McCann's backup. And Hicks' presence allows the Yankees to potentially explore bigger deals involving Brett Gardner.

Earlier on Wednesday, Cashman reduced his swelling 40-man roster by trading infielder Jose Pirela to the Padres for minor league right-hander Ronald Herrera.

Hicks replaces outfielder Chris Young, a right-handed hitting free agent who could land a two-year deal elsewhere.

Considered an above-average defender at all three outfield positions, "[Hicks] gives us a lot of flexibility," Cashman told reporters at Boca Raton, Fla. "[He fills] an area of need for us because of what he does against left-handed pitching especially."

In 97 games this past season, Hicks, 26, batted .256 (90-for- 352) with 11 doubles, 11 homers and 33 RBI. He batted .307 in 101 at- bats against lefties with six homers. Cashman also views Hicks, a former first-round draft pick, as "a viable everyday major league player," which invites speculation about Gardner's future. In need of a center fielder, the Mariners were in contact with the Yankees about Gardner, according to the New York Post, with Seattle starter James Paxton potentially on the block.

In Florida, Cashman said he's fielded plenty of inquiries on Gardner over the years.

"I value Gardy a great deal; he's not an easy get," Cashman said. "But this is the time of year where you go through those kind of exercises."

Cashman said he's also had "a ton of interest" in Sanchez and Murphy, who batted .277 with three homers and 14 RBI in 67 games this past season. …

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