12:38 p.m. Hicks can earn an additional $2MM in annual incentives based on positions secured. Reports Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Those incentives begin at the 100-inning mark; she added..
11:59: The Giants agreed to terms with the free agent right-hander on a four-year contract worth $44MM. Jordan Hicks, Reports Jeff Passan of ESPN. Passan added that the Giants plan to use Hicks as a starter rather than a reliever. Hicks is represented by the Ballenji Group.
A return to the rotation would be surprising, but it wouldn’t be a completely unfamiliar role for the 27-year-old flame. Hicks worked as a starter in the minors before starting in the Cardinals’ bullpen during the 2018 season, and St. Louis briefly tried to get him back into the rotation early in the 2022 campaign. That didn’t last — he gave up 16 runs in 24 2/3 innings before returning to a relief role — but the Giants will try their hand at elevating Hicks’ explosive weapon from their own rotation. The giants have shown the ability to help pizzas come out – Kevin Gausman Chief among them – and Hicks clearly has the kind of raw materials to attract clubs in a bigger role.
Few pitchers can compete with Hicks in velocity. He’s averaged 100.8 mph in four-strokes and 100.2 mph in two-strokes so far in his career, and has finished at a ridiculous 105 mph on the borderline. With a slider that sits at 86.5 mph and he rarely throws “changeups” (no more than a 4% clip) – he sits at 91.8 mph overall on that shot.
Given his unusually young age on the open market and his characteristic raw-arm strength, Hicks has long felt like a pitcher who would hold high interest despite his more modest experience. MLBTR ranked him 21st on our Top 50 Free Agents list, predicting a four-year, $40MM contract from a club that he believes could open another gear.
As one would expect for a pitcher with such superhuman speed, staying power was a problem. Hicks never pitched more than 105 innings in any season between the big leagues and minors. In the year He underwent Tommy John surgery in 2019. Hicks returned from that injury in early July and went back on the injured list in mid-September due to arm strain.
Of course, when he’s healthy and at his best, Hicks can be flat out overwhelming. He sports a 3.85 career ERA, but with 10 ugly innings before a UCL tear in 2019 and a tough stint as a starter in 2022. In 2023, Hicks had a 3.29 ERA with 28.4% strikeouts, 11.2% swing. A walk rate and 58.3% ground ball rate in 65 1/3 innings between the Cardinals and the Blue Jays, who acquired him from St. Louis at the trade deadline in exchange for minor league pitchers. Adam Kloffenstein And Or Robberse. That size of the globe is nothing new; Hicks shows a 60.4% base rate in his career. Unfortunately, last year’s order problems aren’t new either. He has given up a free pass to 12.8% of his opponents in the majors.
Given the number of innings pitched last year — and a total of 66 1/3 and 13 frames over the two previous seasons — it’s hard to imagine Hicks easily breaking into the rotation and starting 30-plus shots, even if he can stay healthy. The Giants plan to put him on some sort of innings limit in 2024, which could mean finishing the starting five innings, using another starter to back him up, or simply giving him occasional stints in the bullpen to keep his arm fresh.
The best setting could see Hicks move to the bullpen at the end of the season, just like the recent trade acquisition. Robbie Ray He’ll be back from Tommy John surgery, though that’s a legitimate assumption that a lot has to go right. If Hicks can stay healthy as a starter this coming season, the team could give him a bigger workload in 2025. At that point, they’ll plug Hicks and Ray into the rotation behind AC. Logan Webb It can give San Francisco a terrible trio. That’s a big “if,” but the coverage is intriguing.
For now, Hicks adds another question mark to an uncertain rotation behind Webb, a 2023 Cy Young Award finalist. Webb led the majors with 216 innings pitched last year, but Alex Cobb And Sean Manaea He was the only other Giants pitcher to reach 100 innings. Manaea signed with the Mets in free agency and will open the 2024 season on the injured list while Cobb recovers from hip surgery.
Hicks joined the veteran swingman Ross StriplingHigh expectations Kyle Harrison and youth rights Keaton Winn. And Tristan Beck As candidates to fill the rotation behind the web. Twenty five years old right Kai-Wei TengHe walked nearly 14% of his opponents in Triple-A last year, the only other starting pitcher on the 40-man roster. High expectations Carson Whisenhunt He’s viewed by Giants brass as a potential rotation mainstay, but he’s pitched just 19 2/3 innings above A-ball and won’t be an option until the 2025 campaign.
Although both Cobb and Ray are on the mend, it seems fair to imagine the Giants making further additions to their rotation as the season progresses. Still, the Giants entered the season with question marks all over the pitching staff and lineup, and many of those needs remain unanswered. Adding a more proven arm – let it be a mid-level arm Mike Clevinger/Michael Lorenzen./Hyun Jin Ryu As a vein or high-level beginner Blake Snell Or Jordan Montgomery – It still seems reasonable and within the budget of the heroes.
As it stands, the Giants’ payroll currently stands at $167MM. Roster ResourceTheir luxury-tax filings sit nearly $30MM below the $237MM primary threshold. San Francisco He opens the 2023 season with a salary of $188MM and previously posted a $200MM cap hit, so there should be plenty of room for further raises in the free agent and/or trade markets.