The Yankees and Twins have swung a trade that will send outfielder Aaron Hicks to New York in exchange for catcher John Ryan Murphy, according to an official announcement.
The trade is a bit of a confusing one for a Yankees team that would seem to have an outfield logjam, though Hicks could just be added as a depth piece. New York currently has Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran and Dustin Ackley in its outfield mix, meaning that a reunion with outfielder Chris Young is now considered less likely due to the addition of Hicks.
Trade rumors have been swirling around Gardner at this week's GM meetings in Boca Raton, with the Mariners among the teams interested in acquiring him. One theory is that the Yankees' acquisition of Hicks could allow them to move Ellsbury to left field if a trade is completed involving Gardner, as today's trade gives the Bombers a bit more flexibility with their outfield situation.
Hicks, 26, was considered a top prospect in the Twins' system before breaking into the majors in 2013, but has struggled to a .256/.323/.398 line with 20 home runs in 247 major-league games. He has appeared at all three outfield positions in the majors, but is primarily considered a centerfielder due to his strong defensive abilities.
Murphy, 24, served as Brian McCann's backup in New York last season and has hit .267/.311/.374 with four homers in 115 major-league games over the last three years. He will likely share time with Kurt Suzuki in Minnesota, ending the Twins' pursuit of veteran catching options such as A.J. Pierzynski.