For a second, it looked like the San Francisco Giants were holding their hands up in defeat on the rest of this year's free agent class — thanks to some weird lie about being concerned about employee payroll and benefits. Their latest whiff has been with Japanese pitcher Shōta Imanaga, who chose the Cubs over the Giants for a strange contract filled with escalators.
However, the Giants are reportedly actually making a signing to follow up from Jung Hoo Lee, and a blindsiding one at that.
Per Jeff Passan, pitcher Jordan Hicks will join the Giants on a four-year, $44 million deal and, even more interestingly, they plan on repurposing him as a starter.
Giants reportedly sign flamethrowing reliever Jordan Hicks, will shockingly convert him to rotation
Over five seasons in MLB, Hicks has only ever made eight starts, all for the Cardinals in 2022. He was traded to Toronto in 2023 and used mostly in a support role to Blue Jays' closer Jordan Romano and to eat up middle-to-late innings. Hicks is known for throwing 100+ MPH on a regular basis, with a fastball that averaged 100.3 and a sinker that averaged 100.1 in 2023. However, he's been wanting to be a starter ever since he got a taste of things in St. Louis, and the Giants' intention to convert him might have been part of their play to secure him.
They beat out the Astros and Yankees, both long-connected to Hicks' free agency. As a starter, he'll join Logan Webb as an interesting replacement for the injured Alex Cobb. Whether or not Hicks can live up to his own expectations for himself as a starter, it will be interesting to watch him ease into the role, and it's a good sign that the Giants haven't actually completely given up this offseason.
At the very least, the contract they surrendered was commensurate with the projections for his reliever deal. If it works, it works. If not? They paid $11 million annually for an elite reliever.