Yesterday, the Yankees and Twins had announced a two-player deal involving 2 players that need a change of scenery. The Yankees acquired outfielder Aaron Hicks in the deal, while the Twins received catcher John Ryan Murphy.
First, it is somewhat shocking that the Twins parted ways with Hicks. The 26-year-old is an excellent defender that is still learning how to hit at the professional level. Hicks ended the 2015 campaign with a .256/.323/.398/.721 batting line and swiped 13 bags on the year. Hicks also hit a season high 11 homers and drove in 33 RBIs. Hicks seemed to have straighten out his approach to the plate and had a good year. Hicks is controllable till 2020, which is good for the Yankees.
In addition, the Twins farm system has plenty of outfield talent that includes top prospect Byron Buxton and the highly mentioned Max Kepler. Also, Eddie Rosario is another option, as are Oswaldo Arcia and Danny Santana. In fact, the Twins have talked about maybe moving Sano to left field, but will play more 3rd base. Adding another position to Sano would not hurt.
Now, the Twins most likely pulled the trigger on this deal with the lack of depth in the organization at the catcher position. Also, Kurt Suzuki struggled in 2015 and the Twins do not have a main backup for Suzuki. Murphy will be a Twin for a while since he is controllable till 2021. Murphy is a cheap option which the Twins could have been looking for also. Now, if Murphy grows and progresses well he could be the Twins future at the catcher position. Murphy should be given plenty of opportunity after the team made a significant investment to acquire him.
Futhermore, Murphy, 24, has seen at least some MLB action in each of the last three seasons, but he saw his most memorable time as a Yankee in 2015. Murphy slashed .277/.327/.406/.734 at the plate while hitting 3 home runs and driving in 14 RBIs.
Now, the Yankees did this trade to with the rumors of trading left fielder Brett Gardner for some key pieces. Gardner is a free agent after the 2018 season and is making over $10 mil a season. Hicks brings versatility to the Yankees by switch hitting, playing solid defense, and stealing bases. Hicks is better from the right side and is capable of playing all three outfield spots. If Gardner is retained Hicks could spell Gardner in left, Jacoby Ellsbury in center, and the aging Carlos Beltran in right, but with the left-handed-hitting Dustin Ackley (plays infield also) also a corner outfield possibility, Gardner certainly is much more expendable to a trade.
Finally, with the Yankees trading away Murphy you could see the Yankees using Austin Romine or highly rated prospect Gary Sanchez as a backup for Brian McCann. McCann is getting older and is dealing with injuries as he gets older and it could give the youngsters a chance to prove themselves. McCann can also DH if Alex Rodriguez plays the field.
Overall: this is a solid trade for both teams and each player will help their newly respected teams.