Yankees were in on hard-throwing pitcher before signing with SF Giants

Baltimore Orioles v Toronto Blue Jays
Baltimore Orioles v Toronto Blue Jays / Cole Burston/GettyImages

The SF Giants reportedly signed hard-throwing pitcher Jordan Hicks to a four-year, $44 million pact on Friday, but they were not the only interested suitor. Andy Martino of SNY confirmed that the New York Yankees were heavily interested in Hicks before he decided to join San Francisco.

Yankees were in on hard-throwing pitcher before signing with SF Giants

Whether the Yankees were interested in Hicks as a starter is not necessarily evident in Martino's post. The context of it is in response to New York looking for bullpen help with Wandy Peralta being one of the possibilities.

The Yankees seemingly have many of their rotation spots set in stone with Gerrit Cole, Carlos Rodón, Marcus Stroman, Clarke Schmidt, and Nestor Cortes. They do not have a need in the rotation and they already have $81.5 million committed against the Competitive Balance Tax (CBT) with the first three options.

More than likely, the Yankees saw Hicks as a reliever where he has spent much of his career. Plus, if he was signed as a reliever, there is a good chance that he does not receive a $44 million commitment that the Giants invested.

The veteran reliever spent the bulk of his career with the St. Louis Cardinals before being shipped to the Toronto Blue Jays at the 2023 trade deadline. Across five seasons, he has tallied a 3.85 ERA, 3.66 FIP, 1.29 WHIP, 9.4 K/9, 1.92 SO/W ratio, and a 60.4 percent ground ball rate.

This includes a solid 2023 campaign in which Hicks registered a 3.29 ERA 65.2 innings. He had a 2.63 ERA in 24.0 innings with the Blue Jays following the trade. Sometimes, last impressions make a difference for players in contract years and he was likely rewarded due in part to such a strong finish.

For the Giants, we explained why the Hicks addition is such a fascinating experiment for the starting rotation when you factor in his age (27) and his ability to generate swinging strikes while keeping the ball on the ground. Of course, there is a possibility that this experiment does not pay off at all if he cannot improve his control.

San Francisco has possibly added the final piece to the rotation. And, they had to go up against the Yankees for Hicks even if New York likely viewed him for a different role.