As July is now in full swing, trade rumors are destined to pop up, and bottom feeders will soon become feeders for the top contenders. A surprising fall has the St. Louis Cardinals on the outside looking in, which leaves their talent-laden roster ripe for the picking. For the New York Yankees, a key bullpen arm may be employed by these same Cardinals for now. Flame-throwing Jordan Hicks is an upcoming free agent, and may initiate a small bidding war amongst contenders.
Could Jordan Hicks be a trade target for the New York Yankees?
Hicks has been part of the Cardinals’ pitching staff since 2018, save for the missed season of 2020, which Hicks opted out of. Now, with the team at the bottom of the NL Central, contending teams will likely come calling sooner rather than later. Hicks’ $2 million salary is a blip on the radar for most teams, including the New York Yankees.
Hicks has been solid this season, pitching to a 3.93 ERA, striking out 55 batters in 36.2 innings. Walks have been a bit of an issue, as Hicks’ 13.8 percent walk rate is in the fourth percentile in the league. The good news is that Hicks’ fastball is still lethal, averaging over 100 mph on both the sinker and four-seam. Sliders have been a key weapon for Hicks, holding opponents to a meager .107 batting average against the offering. Batters have missed on over 50 percent of their swings against the slider. Based on batted ball data, Hicks’ expected ERA is a little better than his actual ERA at 3.22.
So where would Hicks slot in to a semi-crowded Yankees’ bullpen? For starters, Hicks would replace Albert Abreu, who has been rather ineffective after a solid 2022 campaign. From there, Hicks would likely become another high-leverage option for Aaron Boone, who has seemingly strayed from traditional bullpen roles this season. A combination of Hicks and Clay Holmes could close out games, especially in the playoffs.
What would the cost be for Hicks and his expiring contract? Thankfully, the prospect haul would not make a huge dent in a strong system, likely costing either a lower-ceiling prospect near the bigs, or a young low-level lottery ticket. Either way, it is well worth it for Brian Cashman to start making some calls.