The New York Yankees have been financially sound when it came to signing free agents over the years, including this offseason. They stayed out of the Bryce Harper and Manny Machado sweepstakes. As they work on contract extensions for their own players, YES Network reported that center fielder Aaron Hicks has signed a seven-year, $70 million deal. The new deal includes the upcoming season and Hicks' pre-arbitration $6 million salary and a $2 million bonus.

Hicks was set for a breakout season in 2017, recording 15 home runs and 52 RBIs, but oblique issues plagued him, keeping him to only 88 games.

He managed to have a bigger breakout season in 2018, recording 27 home runs and 79 RBIs. He ended the season fifth in the American League in walks and walk rate. Hicks finished third in fWAR, behind Mike Trout and Lorenzo Cain.

Aaron Hicks has had an up-and-down career

Yahoo Sports reports that Hicks was a top prospect in the Minnesota Twins farm system but ended up having a poor season when he first arrived in the big leagues. Hicks will be 30 at the end of the upcoming season. So New York has agreed to keep him until age-36. Hicks had another good season in 2019 and would probably have secured a bigger deal if he entered free agency next offseason. So the Yankees managed to save some money while keeping Hicks as their starting center fielder and a key player moving forward.

However, he has become an underachiever and constantly injury-prone.

In comparison to what it would have taken to reel in Bryce Harper, the Yankees got Hicks for a bargain. The all-around value is very similar between the two. But the length of the contract has become the tipping point, and even if New York gets the 2018 edition of Hicks for a few more years, the Yankees will be paying for his declining years.

Yankees GM Brian Cashman stands behind Hicks

Aaron Boone recently spoke out, saying Hicks is one of the most underrated players in baseball. He called him a valuable player. He's the "poster child" of controlling the strike zone for the New York Yankees. Boone acknowledged that when Hicks is healthy he's an elite player. Hicks has become one of the favorite players on the Yankees.

However, he still manages to get a bad rap from old Yankees fans, while the Yankees front office recognizes his value and power that he adds to the lineup. Brian Cashman and company saw Hicks potential before anyone else did and even stuck with him during the disastrous 2016 season.