Can Dodgers buy low on spiraling Cardinals star reliever?

Toronto Blue Jays v St. Louis Cardinals
Toronto Blue Jays v St. Louis Cardinals / Dilip Vishwanat/GettyImages

Right now, the St. Louis Cardinals' options in the Jordan Hicks conundrum include deemphasizing his role to include mostly lower-leverage opportunities, or cutting his role entirely through either demotion or expulsion.

Could the Dodgers step in and tempt St. Louis, just a few months after being the victor of the Cards' spoils when the team's braintrust lost patience with Alex Reyes and non-tendered him midway through another rehab?

Hicks is far from an obvious hit -- but that's why the Dodgers might be tempted to leap at the chance to acquire a right arm that can throw 104 MPH at its owner's lowest point. The 26-year-old right-hander is currently quite lost, but more importantly, hasn't sustained success since 2019. That's why the Cardinals could be (more easily) convinced to cut bait; Hicks' issues haven't just begun, but they've recently worsened to the point of being untenable.

Last season, Hicks struck out 63 men in 61.1 innings, but walked 35 and posted a 4.84 ERA (including eight games started). This year, his seven appearances have totaled just 5.2 innings. He's sporting a 12.71 ERA. He's walked eight and surrendered a pair of home runs in limited duty. He's not a closer or a set-up man, at this point.

He is, however, still the possessor of all-world talent. Does he deserve a bullpen role over Andre Jackson, at the moment, given his upside?

Dodgers Rumors: Can Mark Prior save Cardinals' Jordan Hicks?

As Joshua Jacobs of Redbird Rants mentions above, the best time to trade Hicks was before the season started, when the Mets were basking in the sudden shock of Edwin Diaz's World Baseball Classic injury.

The second-best time, as far as the Dodgers are concerned, is right now.

Not every swing this large will connect; just ask Adam Dunn. But when they do have the desired impact, the risk could be the differentiator between an extended playoff run and an abrupt ending. If the Dodgers were willing to wait out Reyes' rehab because of the tantalizing possibilities on the other side, they might see an opportunity to turn one team's problem into their secretive solution yet again.

It shouldn't cost more than a top-20 prospect and a bit of dignity, if things don't turn out the way LA planned at the end of the learning curve.