MLB trade grades: Cardinals deal fireballer closer to Blue Jays

Jordan Hicks, St. Louis Cardinals (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)
Jordan Hicks, St. Louis Cardinals (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Blue Jays have acquired Cardinals closer Jordan Hicks after the two sides couldn’t agree to a contract extension before the trade deadline.

While Jordan Hicks and the Cardinals initially tried to agree to a contract extension which would have kept him in St. Louis for 2024 and beyond, that never came to be. The Cards reversed course rather quickly upon hearing Hicks’ demands, instead trading him elsewhere as a rental.

The Toronto Blue Jays will acquire Hicks — who had performed much better since moving to the closer role with the Cardinals — over the likes of the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers. As ESPN’s Jeff Passan notes, Toronto needs bullpen help with closer Jordan Romano on the injured list. Hicks should slide right in the back end, if not taking on the ninth inning with Romano out.

This trade was confirmed by FanSided’s Robert Murray.

Hicks, as previously mentioned, is in the final year of his deal. Per spotrac, he will make $1.8 million this season, the majority of which has already been paid by John Mozeliak and Co.

The Cardinals were expected to be heavy sellers at this year’s trade deadline, dealing away expiring contracts and even some controllable players they can afford to part with due to positional depth, such as in the outfield.

MLB trade grades: Who won Cardinals-Blue Jays Jordan Hicks deal?

Hicks has been tallied throwing as high as 104 MPH, and hits over 100 MPH regularly with his fastball. While he can struggle with his control at times, Hicks has faired far better since transitioning to the closer role full-time, sporting an ERA under three since then.

Considering most contenders know that St. Louis cannot extend Hicks, it makes it tougher on Mozeliak to secure much prospect capital in return. All of his leverage is gone.

Here is the full trade, per Robert Murray:

Cardinals trade grade: B-

It’s far too early to tell with prospects. Robberse is the Blue Jays No. 7 overall prospect, and their fourth-best pitching prospect per MLB Pipeline. His is just 21 years old, and will likely slide right into their Double-A rotation for the rest of the season. Kloffenstein, meanwhile, is 23 and has put up respectable minor-league numbers so far this season, with a 3.24 ERA in 17 Double-A starts. The Cards should not be shy about using him in the bigs this year.

Blue Jays trade grade: B+

Toronto did quite well considering how their bullpen has performed the last few days. The Blue Jays need help on the back end, as Jordan Romano’s injury has left them with a blind spot. Hicks, should he continue having the success he had in St. Louis, will fit in just fine, and be a huge bullpen presence even after their closer returns.

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