Jordan Hicks, St. Louis Cardinals
Similar to Barlow, Jordan Hicks has been pitching for a floundering St. Louis Cardinals ballclub for the bulk of the 2023 season. As the Cardinals appear to be all but done this season, Hicks should become a hot commodity come the trade deadline with his high strikeout ability of 12.8 punchouts per nine innings. For the season, he is 1-6 with eight saves, with a 3.76 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, and 58 strikeouts in 40.2 innings pitched, and has limited batters to just two home runs all year despite some control issues.
Hicks would fall into the same category tier as Barlow, so the acquisition cost once again shouldn’t be as high as some of the elite relievers available at the trade deadline. In addition, at the young age of 26, Hicks still has many productive years left in his career and could even further his growth, making him a potential valuable asset for the Phillies not only for this year for the playoff run, but for the years beyond as well.
Alexis Díaz, Cincinnati Reds
One of the prized elite closers in the game today, Cincinnati Reds’ Alexis Díaz has followed up his impressive rookie season with an even better sophomore season with the ballclub. He has accumulated a strong 3-1 record with 28 saves (currently ranked second in the league) with a 1.85 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, with 19 walks, 65 strikeouts in just 43.2 innings of work. Just imagine, having both Díaz and Kimbrel to finish off games for the Phillies is like an unstoppable monster.
The main issue for the case of Díaz is that the Reds are currently still somewhat in the playoff race, at least for the division title, as they trail the Milwaukee Brewers by less than two games, so they may not be in selling mode for now. However, they have lost six of their last 10 games, so they may feel this year just might not be it for them. In addition, with Díaz’s enormous potential and the fact he is just getting his feet wet in the major leagues, the cost to acquire his services may be quite astronomical compared to some of the other available options.