Jordan Hicks Jul 17, 2023; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Jordan Hicks (12) reacts after the Cardinals defeated the Miami Marlins at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Aug. 1 MLB trade deadline is around the corner, and two teams at the opposite end spectrum in terms of contending for a World Series swung an interesting deal on Sunday.

The Toronto Blue Jays acquired right-handed pitcher Jordan Hicks from the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for minor league right-handed pitchers Sem Robberse and Adam Kloffenstein.

Hicks, 26, had recently been approached by the Cardinals about a possible contract extension. The flamethrowing pitcher is an impending free agent and despite the team’s perceived willingness to sell off pieces, the Cardinals and Hicks were in talks about extending his stay in St. Louis beyond 2023. Those talks seemingly didn’t progress, as Hicks will now head north of the border.

While Hicks has a 1-6 record with a 3.67 ERA in 42 1/3 innings pitched, there’s plenty of intrigue here for Toronto. Even though Hicks has struggled with his control throughout the majority of his MLB career and is currently issuing 5.2 walks per nine innings, Toronto needed bullpen help after placing its closer, Jordan Romano, on the injured list Saturday.

Additionally, Hicks has been putting his sinker and two-seam fastball, which both clock in around 102 mph, to better use lately.

Since Hicks assumed the closing role in St. Louis, he has allowed five runs (three earned) in 13 1/3 innings pitched. He’s walked just three batters while striking out 14. Hicks has a 2.03 ERA over his last 13 appearances, in which he’s pitched to an 0-2 record with eight saves out of nine. The Cardinals are 11-2 in the last 13 games that Hicks has pitched, but he’s also only appeared in 13 games over a month. Hicks last appeared for the Cardinals on July 24.

So, in recent weeks, Hicks looked much more like the flamethrowing pitcher the Cardinals thought they had, and the Blue Jays are believers.

Hicks joins a Toronto bullpen that’s ninth in the majors in wins above replacement, according to FanGraphs, led by the now-injured Romano and Erik Swanson. The bullpen is a huge reason why the Blue Jays are just five games back of the first-place Baltimore Orioles in the American League East.

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.