Angels could compete against two AL West rivals for hard-throwing reliever

Jordan Hicks would be a strong addition to this Angels bullpen
Aug 7, 2023; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Toronto Blue Jays relief pitcher Jordan Hicks (12) celebrates a
Aug 7, 2023; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Toronto Blue Jays relief pitcher Jordan Hicks (12) celebrates a / David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Angels have been relatively quiet this offseason, as they, along with the rest of the league, wait on a Shohei Ohtani decision. Once Ohtani does finally make his decision, things should start to really move.

Whether the Angels land Ohtani or not, the pitching staff must be addressed. The rotation was subpar, and that was with Ohtani pitching. Even if he returns, they need a frontline arm with him not pitching in 2024. Additionally, the bullpen needs work. Yes, they signed Adam Kolarek and Luis Garcia, but they need a late-game arm to really solidify things. Jordan Hicks fits the bill there.

According to Jon Morosi of MLB Network, the Angels are one of three AL West teams in the mix for right-hander Jordan Hicks. Morosi specifically links the Angels, Astros, and Rangers as interested teams in this reliever.

LA Angels interest in Jordan Hicks suggests they're not done improving the bullpen

Jordan Hicks has always had immense potential dating back to his rookie year in 2018. Injuries have played a huge role throughout his five-year career, but the right-hander put together his best season in 2023.

Overall, he posted a 3.29 ERA in 65 appearances and 65.2 innings pitched, splitting time with the Cardinals and Blue Jays. He racked up 12 saves and 13 holds while blowing just three save opportunities. He wound up being a highly sought-after piece at the deadline and then helped the Blue Jays make the postseason serving as their eighth-inning man.

Hicks is known for his wicked stuff. He throws incredibly hard, averaging 100.1 mph with his sinker this past season and 100.3 mph with his four-seam fastball. He throws the sinker most of the time, but also has a sweeper which held the opposition to a .136 BA and .134 xBA when he threw it, as well as a slider and a change-up.

Hicks historically has always been elite at generating ground balls, and he was so again in 2023, ranking in the 96th percentile according to baseball savant. He'd fit in well in this Angels bullpen which has hard throwers who generate weak contact on the ground.

At 27 years old, the Angels are likely looking at an expensive multi-year commitment for Hicks if they were to come to terms. MLB Trade Rumors predicted a four-year deal worth $40 million. That'd be a bit rich for a reliever, especially with that term, but considering his youth and ability it's not so far-fetched that he'd get that on the open market.

Both the Astros and Rangers could use bullpen help, so stealing Hicks away from them would be an extra win for the Angels.