The St. Louis Cardinals’ closer is down for the count after tearing his UCL. Where should the team go from here with an opening at the closer role?
This is not what St. Louis Cardinals fans expected or wanted to see. After leaving the game on Sunday night with what was described as a “tricep cramp,” to which fans were assured was no big deal, has now all of the sudden turned into a torn UCL for the hardest thrower in baseball, Jordan Hicks. Not only was Hicks having a great year, but he was starting to really make strides on fixing the things that ailed him. He was throwing more strikes, getting more strikeouts, and maturing during his sophomore year at just the age of 22. Hicks’ walk rate was down to 3.5 batters per nine (almost two fewer than last year) and had just a 3.14 ERA this year and converted 14 of 15 save opportunities. I’m not sure what exactly happened with the medical staff as the seemingly harmless initial thought of a tricep cramp was then found to be a tear in his UCL, but many fans are understandably unhappy about the initial thoughts being so far off but the tougher question is where the Cardinals should go from here.
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Their playoff hopes were already in jeopardy with how inconsistent each part of their game has been this year, but the one constant seemed to be the latter end of the bullpen. This injury now puts that in flux. A torn UCL usually means Tommy John but there has been some word that it may be a very minor tear so there is potential that he could go through the newer, “
” surgery. This would move the timetable up for his return by a lot as Tommy John surgery would put Hicks out for all of next year too. Back to the present, there is not really a clear answer for who should replace Hicks’ role as closer. Out of
, or even
, my pick would be Miller because of his long history in the role. I also want Martinez back in the rotation ASAP which he has expressed the want to as well. As the Cardinals always do, they will look internally first, then outside of 40-man roster, then outside of the organization so it would seem that our internal options would need to crash and burn before any outside player would be brought in.
This is a no-win situation for anyone and it’s just one big disappointment for Hicks, the team, and the fans. There’s no perfect replacement but we will see who get’s the first shot.