St. Louis Cardinals: Jordan Hicks sets arbitration record

It doesn’t seem like it, but Jordan Hicks debuted for the St. Louis Cardinals three years ago. After making the jump from A ball to the MLB to begin the 2018 season, he quickly established himself as one of the best fireballers in the MLB.

Sadly though, Hicks was injured in the middle of the 2019 season, ending his year early with Tommy John surgery. Hicks likely would’ve returned right around the beginning of the shortened 2020 season, but opted out due to concerns with the COVID-19 virus. Nobody can blame Hicks, a diabetic, for prioritizing his own safety.

Hicks was one of four Cardinals eligible for arbitration this year and was in an interesting spot because he didn’t play at all during 2020. On Friday, it was announced late in the day that the Cardinals and Hicks did agree on a settlement.

As you can see in the Heyman tweet, the two sides agreed at $862,500, a record-setting value. Sure, Hicks didn’t play in 2020, but his value to the back of the bullpen can’t be understated.

While this deal is record-setting, it is slightly below the $900k he was projected to receive.

The interesting thing to watch with Hicks is going to be how he looks when he comes back. Already, he is the hardest throwing pitcher in the MLB but pitchers returning from Tommy John surgery frequently come back throwing harder. It’ll be wild to see what that looks like for Hicks.

In the next 18 months, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Hicks at least be offered an extension as he is still just 24 years old. Hicks is not a free agent until 2024, but if he continues to grow as a reliever, he’s definitely an arm the team will want to keep around.

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The only player the Cardinals weren’t able to agree with was Jack Flaherty, but that wasn’t really a surprise.