The Cardinals made the right move by trading Jordan Hicks, shouldn't sign the FA

It is too soon for a reunion between the St. Louis Cardinals and Jordan Hicks
Miami Marlins v St. Louis Cardinals
Miami Marlins v St. Louis Cardinals / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages

Pitching, pitching, pitching was St. Louis Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak's promise for the off-season. While he has three new starters for the rotation, he is not done. While another starter would undoubtedly be welcomed, he is also looking to improve a rocky bullpen. 

The bullpen last season was enough to cause a panic attack for a fanbase already anxious about a struggling starting rotation and an underperforming lineup. 

While adjustments are being considered and made this offseason, it is very curious why some in this fanbase are giddy with the prospect of the return of one of the most frustrating pieces of the Cardinals bullpen in recent years. That would be Jordan Hicks. 

Since his debut, the Cardinals have been high on Hicks as an up-and-coming arm for the bullpen. He went straight from AA to St. Louis in 2018. Cardinals' catching legend Yadier Molina was keen on working with the hard-throwing youngster. 

But throwing over 101 mph without being effective is more dangerous than an asset. The Cardinals began realizing things were not working in Hicks's favor early in the 2023 season. While Hicks refused a demotion to AAA Memphis to work on his mechanics, the team essentially sidelined him to work on things. While it was unfortunate they couldn't bring up an arm to help, the Cardinals allowed Hicks to stay with the team while working through his problems. 

Things came to a head for Hicks and the Cardinals during the July 5 game against the Marlins. Jordan Walker launched a two-run home run off A.J. Puk in the ninth inning to give the Cardinals a 9-8 lead. Hicks came into the game in the bottom of the ninth to save the game. 

Hicks walked Bryan De La Cruz to start in the bottom of the ninth. Garrett Cooper struck out swinging. Yuli Gurriel singled to right field, moving De La Cruz to second base. Garrett Hampson entered the game to pinch run for De La Cruz. 

Hicks next faced Joey Wendle. And things went south quickly. 

Wendle knocked a little grounder in the direction of Hicks. The pitcher nabbed the ball for a sure out to first base. But that's not what happened. Instead, Hicks threw the ball over Paul Goldschmidt's head, allowing the ball to sail into right field. Instead of getting that easy out, the Cardinals lost on a walk-off as Hampson and Cooper scored as the Cardinals chased down the errant throw. 

This was one of the worst plays the Cardinals endured in the 2023 season. Hicks could have been a hero. He could have shown off what he learned and settled down before throwing the easy toss to Goldschmidt. 

But he did not and essentially told the Cardinals and their adoring fanbase that this is who he is—a good guy with an uncontrolled canon for an arm. 

Later in July, the Cardinals traded Hicks to the Blue Jays for Adam Kloffenstein and Sem Robberse, who are now top prospects in the Cardinals farm system. 

Hicks is a free agent looking for a contract and a place to call home. While Hicks is a tremendous person, he has shown the kind of pitcher he is going be down the stretch. The Cardinals did right in trading him to a new location for prospects. Hicks still needs that change in scenery away from St. Louis, though. 

Remember that evening in July and know the Cardinals and Hicks are better off without each other.