The Orioles signed free agent Aaron Hicks as a reinforcement for an outfield that will be without Cedric Mullins for some time. A deal with the 33-year-old outfielder was finalized Tuesday after interest in Hicks emerged early in the afternoon.

Mullins suffered a right groin strain while running out a ground ball late in Monday’s loss to the Cleveland Guardians. The severity of the injury is not yet known, although he was placed on the 10-day injured list Tuesday.

“I don’t know if you can replace what he brings to the table,” outfielder Austin Hays said of Mullins. “He’s elite at every facet of the game, so it’s going to be a group effort to really come together and play as a whole to kind of do what we can to fill that void.”

Hicks was released by the New York Yankees earlier this season after hitting .188 in 28 games. With Baltimore, he’ll make the major league minimum salary ($720,000), which is deducted from the remainder of the contract New York owes him. Hicks held a .524 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in that sample size. Still, Hicks is coming off a 2022 season in which he played 130 games and hit .216.

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Hicks will wear No. 34 for Baltimore and is expected to be active for Tuesday’s game against the Cleveland Guardians.

There are several directions the Orioles could have gone internally to cover for the expected absence of Mullins. While outfield prospects Colton Cowser and Kyle Stowers are still on the injured list, general manager Mike Elias said Cowser’s quad injury isn’t a long-term setback. That could still leave him or Stowers (shoulder) in the picture moving forward, if Hicks is a short-term solution.

Additionally, there was the option to recall infielder Joey Ortiz. Even though he was sent down last week, as an injury replacement, there are no timetable restrictions on another call-up. That possibility would have involved Adam Frazier and Terrin Vavra playing more in a corner outfield spot while Ortiz worked in the infield alongside Jorge Mateo, Gunnar Henderson and Ramón Urías.

In any possibility, Hays could find himself in center field more frequently, in a rotation with Ryan McKenna or even Mateo. But with Hicks joining Baltimore, center field would likely be patrolled by the former Yankees outfielder.

In the past few seasons, Hicks has played an increasing amount of left field. Still, the former first round draft pick played seven games in center for New York this season prior to his release. Hicks has performed as a below-average defensive outfielder, though. Per FanGraphs’ outs above average, a range-based metric that measures how many outs a player has saved, Hicks has saved nine fewer than the average major leaguer. Mullins, by comparison, has plus-32 outs above average, per FanGraphs.