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The San Francisco Giants and free-agent pitcher Jordan Hicks have agreed to terms on a four-year contract worth $44 million, Jeff Passan reports. Passan notes that the Giants intend to use Hicks as a starting pitcher. Only eight of Hicks' 212 MLB appearances to date have been starts. All of those came in 2022 with the Cardinals and only three lasted four innings or more.

Hicks, one of the hardest-throwing pitchers ever, spent most of the 2023 season with the Cardinals before being traded to the Blue Jays prior to the deadline. 

Across 65 2/3 innings for both teams, he pitched to a 3.29 ERA with 81 strikeouts. Hicks enjoyed much better results after shifting to the opposite side of the rubber and altering his warm-up routine. Coming into to the offseason, CBS Sports ranked Hicks as the No. 25 available free agent. Here's part of our write-up on him: 

Hicks appeared close to being designated for assignment after a rough introduction to the 2023 season. He then executed a nifty turnaround, doing some of the best relief work in the business the rest of the way. Hicks remains a flamethrowing sinkerballer who suppresses quality of contact. The main differences this year were that he threw a career-high rate of strikes and missed more bats than usual. Hicks' track record isn't as good as you'd think (this was the first time since 2019 his ERA+ cleared 90), but the arm talent is undeniable and for once so were the results.

Hicks' four-seam fastball averaged 100.3 miles per hour last season, per Statcast, the second-highest figure in the league behind Jhoan Duran of the Twins. Hicks' sinker -- his most-used pitch -- averaged an MLB-fastest 100.1 mph.

The 2024 season will be Hicks' age-27 campaign. He carries with him a career ERA+ of 106 across parts of five major-league seasons. 

It's unclear if the Giants plan on Hicks being a full-on starter or more of an opener. They've deployed an opener at times in the past. The current rotation is Logan Webb, Ross Stripling and Kyle Harrison, possibly followed by Keaton Winn and Hicks, should he stick as a starter through spring training. Both Alex Cobb and Robbie Ray are injured. If Hicks is shifted to the bullpen, the Giants already have Camilo Doval at closer, flanked by lefty Taylor Rogers and righty Tyler Rogers, but a setup role could still be carved out.