Three free agents that could make the Arizona Diamondbacks National League West favorites

The Arizona Diamondbacks could target these three free agents to make themselves National League West favorites.

Sep 15, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays relief pitcher Jordan Hicks (12) pitches to
Sep 15, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays relief pitcher Jordan Hicks (12) pitches to / Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports
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Aug 15, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Jordan Hicks (12) pitches against the
Aug 15, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Jordan Hicks (12) pitches against the / John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Jordan Hicks

The Diamondbacks could definitely use another higher-leverage reliever. Kevin Ginkel and Paul Sewald are a strong duo, but there’s very little behind them, at least ones you could trust to handle the 8th inning or even the 9th inning if need be. One of the best relievers on the free agent market is Jordan Hicks. Hicks is coming off a nice rebound campaign with the St. Louis Cardinals and Toronto Blue Jays.

In 65.2 innings, Hicks pitched to a 3.29 ERA, 3.22 FIP, and 1.36 WHIP. He had an outstanding 28.4% strikeout rate, the highest single-season rate of his career, with an HR/9 of just 0.55. Hicks’ 58.3% ground ball rate, which was the 9th highest GB% among qualified relievers last year. 

Hicks was also one of the best pitchers to induce soft contact last year. He owned an 86.7 MPH exit velocity, 35.7% hard-hit rate, and a barrel rate of 5.4%. The flamethrower was one of the few pitchers with a launch angle in the negatives. Only seven pitchers faced at least 250 batters with a launch angle below zero. Hicks sat at -0.1. The only thing Hicks did at a below-average level was prevent walks. He had an 11.8% walk rate, but it’s clear he was able to work around those free passes.

Hicks’ approach would thrive on the Diamondbacks. He spent a good chunk of the 2023 season on the Cardinals, who were a below-average defensive team by measure of both defensive runs saved and outs above average. The Blue Jays were one of the best defensive teams in baseball, but the D-Backs are right up there with them. The Snakes had +46 DRS with +31 OAA. 

A 7th-9th inning trio of Ginkel, Hicks, and Sewald, combined with the starting rotation, would make it very hard for any opponent to score runs. It would be one of the best pitching staffs in all of baseball. Going from five or six strong innings from this group of starters to that group of relievers would be insane. The D-Backs need another reliever, and Hicks would be a great fit on their roster.