You can thank the San Francisco Giants for taking one of the top relievers off the free agent market. But oddly enough, the Giants believe they can turn Jordan Hicks into a starter. According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, Hicks signed a four-year/$44-million deal and is expected to be part of San Francisco's rotation.
That's an odd choice to be sure, but it does remove one of the more-coveted relievers out of the pool of available free agents. While the Houston Astros were supposedly monitoring Hicks' market this offseason, there are still several talented pitchers remaining on the open market.
Houston will need to refocus with an emphasis on beefing up the relief corps ahead of spring training. Pitchers and catchers report in just over a month, so which remaining free agent relievers should the Astros target?
1. Astros should target free agent LHP Matt Moore
You can never have enough left-handers in the bullpen, and Matt Moore is a very good one. While most of Moore's career had been spent with the Tampa Bay Rays organization, he's seen plenty of time in the American League West Division as well.
Moore had two separate stints with the Texas Rangers and was part of the Los Angeles Angels organization just last year. Moore was actually part of three different teams during the 2023 season and made 50 appearances while owning a 2.56 ERA.
Moore is a three-pitch pitcher who's fastball sits in the mid-90s. The southpaw can also mix in a changeup and breaking ball to keep opposing hitters off balance. Moore's 34.9-percent chase-rate was among the 98th percentile last season according to Baseball Savant. Moore also posted an above-average strikeout-rate and walk-rate.
Moore is starter turned reliever who's logged over 125 innings the past two seasons. The 34-year-old lefty is a reliable veteran who would bring stability to the Astros bullpen in 2023. He's not going to light the radar gun up like Jordan Hicks, but his stuff is effective.