3) Jordan Hicks
Jordan Hicks' metrics are fascinating. On one hand, the veteran reliever has the profile of a dominate weapon. His blistering fastball is one of the fastest in the history of baseball. In fact, two of his pitches are on the list of top 10 ever recorded.
He is also coming off a season in which he posted a solid 3.29 ERA, including a 2.63 mark after being traded to Toronto at the 2023 trade deadline. With a projected market value of just $3.4 per season, Hicks feels like a true value in this class of free agent relievers.
However, for all of Hicks' strengths, he also has several notable flaws. First is his control issues (Hicks holds a 1.299 career WHIP).
Next is his track record of inconsistency. After a stellar 2019 campaign in which Hicks seemingly became the St. Louis Cardinals best bullpen weapon, things began to come to a halt after the righty reliever missed the 2020 COVID season. Hicks would post a dreadful 5.40 ERA in very limited action in 2021, followed up by a concerning 4.84 ERA in 2022.
At his best, Hicks is a dangerous weapon with closer upside. While he does carry a level of risk, his low price point and rebound numbers in 2023 make him a sensible target for a team like the Miami Marlins.
2) Yuki Matsui
Matsui is the biggest unknown in this free agency class. While fellow Japanese stars like Yoshinobu Yamamoto and Shota Imanaga will retain the bulk of the attention in free agency, Matsui represents a skilled reliever who could help any club's bullpen.
The 10-year NPL veteran holds a career 2.40 ERA and 1.108 WHIP and has 236 saves on his impressive resume. According to SB Nation, his most recent three seasons, in which he holds a stellar 1.42 ERA and 0.882 WHIP and 95 saves in 152 innings, have been especially dominant.
The 28-year-old lefty boasts an effective fastball (averaging 93 MPH with a max of 96), and a dangerous off-speed splitter. His slider should also translate to MLB, giving him at least three useful pitches.
Matsui's market value is difficult to assess. However, should he fall in a comparable price range as the others on this list, he is another low-risk, high-upside option for Miami's bullpen in 2023 and beyond.