Mike Francesa: Yankees Face Difficult Decision If Aaron Hicks Is Added To ALCS Roster

LISTEN: Francesa Weighs Possible Options For Bronx Bombers

Mike's On
October 09, 2019 - 4:42 pm

Yankees manager Aaron Boone has a difficult decision to make ahead of the AL Championship Series.  

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Outfielder Aaron Hicks revealed that he's ready to return to the team after recovering from an elbow injury, telling the Associated Press he's been able to do "pretty much everything" since he last played in August. Hicks forces Boone to make the difficult decision whether or not to include him on the ALCS roster. It's a scenario where the Yankees have a significant amount of quality batters, just not enough room. 

WFAN's Mike Francesa says Hicks' presence "changes things" for the Yankees as they prepare for whoever wins Game 5 between the Astros and Rays. 

"Let's say it's Houston as we expect," Francesa said. "Big dominant right-handed starters. If they put Hicks on, they're playing him. You've got Hicks in the lineup, but they're going to want (Brett Gardner) in the lineup against those right-handed pitchers. If they have Hicks in center and Gardy is in the lineup, what do you do with (Giancarlo) Stanton? Now Stanton can't push (Edwin) Encarnacion. Nobody's pushing Encarnacion. He's in the lineup as the DH."

Hicks batted .235 with 52 hits and 36 RBIs at the time of his injury. But the Yankees are likely without any room for the outfielder on their roster. Francesa says no matter where Hicks plays, someone is left vulnerable in the lineup. 

"If (Boone) puts Hicks on, it makes somebody else in that lineup very vulnerable," Francesa said. It's not Encarnacion. It's not (DJ) LeMahieu. It's either (Gio) Urshela or Stanton. One of those two. So I think they want to play (Gardner). The question is: Do they leave Gardy in center and tell Hicks, 'wait until the World Series' or do they tell Hicks, 'Not this year.' Well, first have to see if they activate Hicks."

Boone said on Wednesday that Hicks is in consideration to be added to the team's ALCS roster. 

"If they activate Hicks," Francesa said. "They put a lot of pressure squarely on the performance of Stanton because you need to get Gardy's bat in the lineup - that left-handed bat. That means that Stanton DH and Urshela goes to the bench and LeMahieu goes to third. I'll tell you this, Encarnacion is going to be in the lineup and Gardy should be in the lineup.

"So it's going to be interesting to see whether they decide to just leave Gardy alone in center and not risk Hicks or if they do risk Hicks, who that puts in a vulnerable position once they put Hicks back in center field. It will be fascinating to watch how that all unfolds for the Yankees, who are sitting waiting."

Click the audio player above to listen to Francesa's open in its entirety.