The Cardinals Are in Quite a Bind with Reliever Jordan Hicks

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The Cardinals Are in Quite a Bind with Reliever Jordan Hicks

Chicago Cubs

It wasn’t until I saw chatter about how manager Oli Marmol was going to deal with the Jordan Hicks situation that I even realized just how bad things had gotten for the Cardinals’ triple-digit reliever.

Hicks, 26, has appeared in 7 games so far this year, and his ERA has ballooned to 12.71. He’s struck out just 17.1% of the batters he’s faced, while walking 22.9%. YIKES. The wildness doesn’t just manifest in that walk rate, either. Hicks’ last outing, he managed to get just one out, and otherwise gave up three hits and was charged with a couple runs in a decisive 10th inning.

Because Hicks reached the big leagues at such a young age, and because of the way injuries and the pandemic played out, he’s already got five full seasons of MLB service time. That means he cannot be sent to the minors without his permission, which he seems extremely unlikely to give, since he will hit free agency if he gets a full year of service time. So the Cardinals are in quite a bind, especially with an eight-man bullpen.

“We need to figure out a way for him to be more effective and usable,” Marmol told of Hicks and his struggles. “We’ve got to have a good enough plan to do that, where he’s comfortable with it and we feel good about it. Getting him into low-leverage situations [is one option]. [On Saturday], he was forced into a high-leverage situation and there was no way around that one. Figuring out a way to get him right is key.

“This isn’t a developmental league,” Marmol added. “You can’t script it the way you can in a Minor League setting. But we’re also well aware of where we’re at with Jordan and our ability to do that [without a potential Minor League stint]. We have to figure out a way to get him right in a real setting, which is not the easiest thing to do, but that’s the task at hand.”

Translation? I don’t really want to use this guy, but my front office doesn’t want to get rid of him yet, so I have to do my best to hide him. The Cardinals are operating with a seven-man bullpen at the moment – particularly difficult, given how bad the rotation has been. Crying shame that is.

My guess is this will result, soon, in an “injury” for Hicks. He gets to take a breath and head to the minors on a “rehab assignment,” while the Cardinals get an escape from any damage he could do to the big league team without totally ditching him just yet.

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.