Greek Giant

Posted 11 hours before press time and already viewed by more than 2,500 people, the video of yesterday’s press conference to introduce Jordan Hicks is very interesting:

Yesterday the Giants made the Hicks signing official with the press conference announcement. Who knows what the hold up was as the deal was announced nearly a week ago. The most important takeaway I have from the video (other than the fact that Baseball people don’t know how to wear a suit or even a sportscoat) is that Jordan Hicks expressed his clear intent, from the beginning of his career, to be a starting pitcher. Right at the initiation of the Q&A Hicks describes how he was shoehorned into being a reliever by the Cardinals because of his triple digit fastball.

It’s called bad player development and it happens in other organizations too. The over-valuation of relief pitching and massive under-valuing and misunderstanding of the starting pitcher’s role by the Analytics fetishists is one of the characteristics of its myopia and failure. Remember how the Yankees ruined Joba Chamberlain’s career with the exact same mistake?

A Word About the Hicks Contract

I rarely comment on player contracts at the beginning because I want to see how they play out. But, in this case I will deviate from my norms. The Hicks deal amounts to $44 million for four seasons. The right-hander with a history of injuries,  will get a one-time signing bonus of $2MM, a $6MM salary in 2024, followed by a $12MM salary in the three subsequent years. There are also incentives, $2 million worth to be exact, for every season Hicks surpasses the 100-inning mark.

The contract was more or less on par with what many analysts said Hicks was worth in this free agent class however I find it too high and too long for such an unproven pitcher converting to a starter with Hicks’s injury issues. For a front office that avoids long-term deals and high-risk contracts like the plague, this deal seems out of character and too risky for my tastes. It could end up being that this is the deal that it took to sign Hicks considering competition from other clubs. But, I’m not sure I make this acquisition. I would rather have seen the Giants use that money for another player, one with a proven track record or one with no injury history.

Let’s re-evaluate the situation after two seasons.

For now: Welcome to San Francisco Jordan!