St. Louis Cardinals need to consider moving Jordan Hicks out of rotation
The St. Louis Cardinals need to consider moving Jordan Hicks out of the rotation, and they just so happen to have two internal replacements.
This season, the St. Louis Cardinals experimented by putting Jordan Hicks in the rotation. While there have been flashes, he has struggled to the tune of a 5.02 ERA and 29/20 strikeout-to-walk ratio. And in the first 78 pitches thrown on Wednesday, he only garnered five swings and misses while walking five batters.
By now, he has made seven starts, which is a large enough sample size to start making decisions. And the Cardinals should strongly consider moving Hicks back to the bullpen, a role that he has previously thrived in when he has stayed healthy.
In 2018, he posted a 3.59 ERA in 73 games, and appeared primed for stardom as baseball’s next flamethrowing reliever. That continued in 2019 when he posted a 3.14 ERA in 29 games, only to miss the next 18 months following Tommy John surgery and opting out of the COVID-19 shortened 2020 season.
Moving Hicks back to the bullpen, especially after it was announced that high-leverage reliever Alex Reyes would miss the 2022 season, makes all the sense in the world. And the Cardinals just so happen to have two internal options to replace Hicks: Jake Woodford and Packy Naughton.
Woodford, 25, has started nine games in his short three-year major-league career and has pitched very well, posting a 2.08 ERA in seven games. He still struggles with control – 75 strikeouts and 36 walks in his career – and that could be an internal concern when considering a full-time rotation spot. Naughton, 26, has a 2.89 ERA in six appearances this season, including one start, and could be a short-term replacement.
The Cardinals also appear primed to be players for starting pitchers at the trade deadline, having been connected to A’s starter Frankie Montas already. Montas would appear too expensive, though the Cardinals have a history of finding quality bargains at the deadline, evidenced by their trades last season for J.A. Happ and Jon Lester.
But first, they need to move Hicks out of the rotation, and that could be coming at any day.