I don’t want to sound dramatic here, but I think I speak for everybody in the Cardinals fanbase when I say that it’s time to move on from Jordan Hicks. Hicks certainly has had his good moments in a Cardinals uniform, emerging as a strong back-end piece in 2018 and ultimately securing the closer’s role in 2019.
Before his elbow injury, he was on pace to become one of the game’s most dominant relievers. And when he returned in 2021, I was excited to see him back. But it only took a month for him to land back on the injured list and miss the rest of the season. And since then, I can’t say I’ve been terribly impressed with the way the Cardinals have handled Hicks, nor with the way Hicks has performed.
Again, this isn’t to say that he hasn’t had his moments. He pitched well in the playoffs last year and did his job to escape trouble and keep games close. But given his injury history, the Cardinals likely should have made a judgment call on Hicks much sooner. Trying him out as a starter and building him up as the season went last year clearly backfired on the Cardinals.
Working as a starter didn’t help him overcome his injuries, or his command struggles. He had only one start where he made it through five innings. Soon after, he found himself on the injured list again. This was only further proof that over the past several years, the Cardinals have not only mishandled Hicks, but have fallen down on the job when it comes to adding starting pitching.
But back to Hicks. The writing has been on the wall for quite some time. His command has been an issue since he came to the big leagues. Yet the Cardinals have held onto him simply because of his velocity. But Hicks has been a cautionary tale for that reason, proving that velocity is not the only thing that matters when it comes to pitching.
When Hicks ran into trouble on Opening Day against the Blue Jays, I began questioning why he was still on the team. As the season rolls on, it’s only become more obvious that the Cardinals need to find something to do with the right-hander.
On Saturday, that trend continued. When the game entered extra innings, I was hoping that the Cardinals would stick with Ryan Helsley. When the commercial break ended and I saw Hicks on the mound, my heart sank. And sure enough, he threw three straight balls to Andrew McCutchen to start the 10th. After battling back a bit, our worst fears became reality when he served up a two-run homer. He managed to only record one out.
In seven games, he owns a 12.71 ERA. The popular consensus seems to be that when Adam Wainwright comes back, it’ll be Hicks that goes down to Memphis. But I think more needs to be done, and it needs to be done right now. I appreciate the good moments Hicks has had and I wish him all the best, especially after all the injuries he’s dealt with. But it’s obvious that he’s no longer serviceable and that the Cardinals need to cut ties. And they need to do it as soon as possible.
Personally, I don’t understand why one of Drew VerHagen, Andre Pallante, or even Giovanny Gallegos wasn’t used in the 10th. I think it could have saved the Cards a lot of trouble.