The White Sox have apparently discussed trading closer Liam Hendriks. Would he make sense for the Blue Jays?
Photo credit:© Robert Edwards-USA TODAY Sports
By Cam Lewis1 month ago
Mark Feinsand of MLB dot com reported on Monday evening that Chicago White Sox closer Liam Hendriks’ name has come up in trade talks with other teams.
This is sort of a vague rumour, as it doesn’t indicate whether the Sox are the team initiating the talks or if other teams are simply reaching out to see if he’s available, but it’s an interesting topic to dive into regardless.
Hendriks bounced around as a depth arm early in his career and settled into a bullpen role with the Blue Jays in 2015. He quietly had an excellent season that year, posting a 2.92 ERA while striking out 9.9 and walking 1.5 batters per nine innings over 58 appearances.
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In the following off-season, Hendriks was traded to the Oakland A’s in exchange for Jesse Chavez. After a few good-not-great seasons in Oakland pitching in a variety of different roles, Hendriks broke out in 2019, posting a 1.80 ERA with 13.1 strikeouts per nine innings over 75 appearances. He took over the closer role from Blake Treinen and picked up 25 saves.
After another dominant season as Oakland’s closer in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Hendriks inked a three-year, $54 million contract with the White Sox in free agency. There was speculation that winter that Hendriks would sign with the Blue Jays, as he visited the team’s complex in Dunedin before ultimately signing with Chicago…
The deal saw Hendriks make $11.3 million in 2021 and $13.3 million in 2021, and he’s set to make $14.3 million in 2023. He also has a $15 million team option in 2024 that becomes guaranteed if he gets traded but he can submit a five-team no-trade list.
Given the money that high-quality relief pitchers have been commanding this winter, paying $14.3 and $15 million for two seasons of Hendriks seems like a bargain. In his two seasons with the White Sox, Hendriks has posted a 2.66 ERA and has struck out 13.8 batters while walking 1.6 batters per nine. He’s also been named to the All-Star team in both seasons.
From Chicago’s perspective, moving Hendriks also makes sense given the team is loaded with a handful of high-quality relief pitchers, such as Reynaldo Lopez and Kendall Graveman. The White Sox could move Hendriks for some young talent and open up some room to spend elsewhere on their roster.
Toronto’s bullpen currently features Jordan Romano, the newly-acquired Erik Swanson, Yimi Garcia, Tim Mayza, Anthony Bass, Adam Cimber, and Trevor Richards, along with other names who could contribute, such as Nate Pearson, Zach Pop, and Julian Merryweather.
Adding Hendriks would give the team a dependable, veteran arm with swing-and-miss stuff to close out games. But that said, it’s also worth considering that adding a veteran closer could rub Romano the wrong way, as he’s done an excellent job since moving into the role in 2021.
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