No one wants to be considered a Plan B, but if Jordan Hicks ends up on the New York Yankees in 2024, it probably means the team failed in loftier pursuits.
Specifically, with free agent starting pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto. The Yankees have identified him as a top target to bolster their rotation, but there is heavy competition for the Japanese hurler. If New York cannot land Yamamoto, its focus would shift to more bullpen help, per MLB.com's Mark Feinsand.
If the Yanks fail at strengthening their rotation, the thinking goes, loading up on bullpen arms might be a way to mitigate that failure and shorten games for the team's starters. In that case, Hicks would be seen as a top target.
The 27-year old right hander spent split his 2023 season between the St. Louis Cardinals and Toronto Blue Jays, following a July trade. Hicks threw 24 innings for Toronto, compiling a 2.63 ERA and striking out 22 batters while walking just eight. His 164 ERA+ would've been the best of his career over a full season.
Hicks' best quality as a pitcher is his velocity. He routinely hits 100+ MPH using his sinker and four-seam fastball.
Plan A for Yankees offseason
The best case scenario for the Bronx Bombers still involves landing Yamamoto, however. The 25-year old star from Japan projects to pitch at an ace-level in America. And while the Yankees have one of those in Gerrit Cole, the likes of Carlos Rodon, Nestor Cortes, and Clarke Schmidt do not inspire confidence behind the Cy Young winner.
The Yankees have already signalled their desire to compete in 2024 this offseason by swinging a trade for superstar Juan Soto. Next up on the priority list is to find some starters.
And if not, maybe Jordan Hicks will still be there waiting.