Trade Rumors: Jordan Hicks makes a lot of sense for the Braves bullpen

The Atlanta Braves still have the third-best ERA in the MLB. After recent struggles, the Braves could turn to the Cardinals as a potential trade partner.

Miami Marlins v St. Louis Cardinals
Miami Marlins v St. Louis Cardinals / Scott Kane/GettyImages
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The Atlanta Braves have made a few minor moves within the last few days. As the trade deadline approaches rapidly, they could be looking to make a splash to enhance the struggling bullpen.

Jordan Hicks and the St. Louis Cardinals have not been able to reach an agreement on a contract extension yet, which very well could indicate that he will be traded before August 1st.

Hicks is 1-6 with a 3.67 ERA this season. The Win/Loss record is not as concerning as the near 4.00 ERA. Often times pitchers get pinned with a loss due to things out of their control, such as run support (or the lack thereof). His FIP is impressive, however, at 3.02 and that's a career-best number for him.

Even with a 3.67 ERA, Hicks has some great potential with the velocity and movement of his pitches. A fastball that can reach triple digits on a consitent basis could be a great weapon for Atlanta's bullpen. Outside of having a lively fastball, there are a couple of other reasons why it makes sense for Alex Anthopolus to pursue Jordan Hicks.

What Hicks Could Bring

While they still possess the third-best ERA in baseball, the Braves bullpen lacks a pitcher they can trust to strike batters out when needed. Hicks could be the guy to fill in that gap as he has struck out 59 in just 42.1 innings pitched.

For a pitcher who relies on a high-velocity sinker that has topped out at 104 mph, control almost always seems to be a point of concern. For Jordan Hicks that is not as much of a concern. He has only issued 24 free passes all season. Hicks would be joining a bullpen that has the 2nd fewest walks in the MLB, only behind the Texas Rangers, who are rumored to be the current front-runners to acquire him.

Adding Hicks to the bullpen could give Brian Snitker some flexibility when calling to the bullpen in late-game situations. Having both Hicks and Rasiel Iglesias could be a real weapon by allowing either to put out a fire in the 7th or 8th inning while still having an experienced closer available for the 9th.

What Would He Cost?

St. Louis Cardinals v Los Angeles Dodgers
St. Louis Cardinals v Los Angeles Dodgers / Katelyn Mulcahy/GettyImages

The cost for Hicks could likely be less than what he is really worth under the circumstances. With the deadline approaching and him not reaching an extension with his current squad, the Cardinals will be looking to get what they can for him before he walks in free agency.

Now, of course, every franchise will try to maximize their return in any trade but asking for multiple top prospects for Jordan Hicks would be unrealistic.

Here is a proposed trade explained:

Braves Get: Jordan Hicks

Cardinals Get: Kolby Allard, Allan Winans, and cash considerations

Kolby Allard has had two starts since coming back to Atlanta from the Rangers. One of those starts was very impressive where he struck out 8 batters over 4.2 innings against the Twins.

With Max Fried and Kyle Wright on the cusp of return along with AJ Smith-Shawver showing flashes of great potential, the starting rotation may be out of vacancy for Allard in the foreseeable future.

Allan Winans has only had one MLB start for the Braves. It was against the NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers. Winans proved over 4.2 innings that he indeed does have the stuff to be effective and get outs at the major league level.

It very well could have been that a team was interested in trading for Winans after seeing his dominant triple-a stats this season but was concerned if he was good enough to contribute in the MLB.

The Braves could have given him that start on national television just to showcase his abilities and draw interest as the deadline gets closer. Maybe the Cardinals would be impressed enough to give Winans a chance to pitch in the majors for the remainder of the 2023 season.

At first glance, it may appear the Braves would be giving up a lot in this hypothetical scenario. However, this may be what it takes for the Cardinals to feel they are getting compensated fairly for Hicks and Atlanta may not be losing as much as you’d think.

If he were to join the Braves and prove himself as a trusted bullpen arm, Anthopoulos could easily be inclined to re-sign the 26-year-old to a multi-year contract.

Beyond helping the Braves make a push for another World Series championship, Jordan Hicks could also end up being a part of Atlanta's future success.