Liam Hendriks, who just finished his tenth year in the Majors, broke in 2019 in a major way. The first time All-Star posted a 1.80 ERA in 75 games (85 total innings) with excellent peripherals (1.87 FIP). He struck out 13.1 hitters per nine innings, much higher than his career average up to that point of 8.1. He couldn’t do it again, could he?
In 2020, he doubled down posting an identical 13.1 K-per-nine. He improved his ERA slightly, with a 1.78, complimented by a 1.14 FIP that showed he had bad luck in 2020. He finished in AL Cy Young voting, an award won by Triple Crown Shane Bieber of the Indians. Over his career, he’s seen time with the A’s, Blue Jays, Royals and Twins. Hendriks, who’ll be 32 in 2021, has a lifetime 4.10 ERA to coincide a pedestrian 19-27 career record. However, his recent track record is as good as any reliever in MLB.
Meanwhile, the Chicago White Sox are on their way up. Last offseason, they inked Dallas Keuchel and Yasmani Grandal long-term, while trading for Lance Lynn earlier this offseason. This goes with their stellar young core consisting of players such as Tim Anderson, Lucas Giolito, Yoan Moncada and Luis Robert. The White Sox made the postseason in 2020, but look to do so again in 2021 under Hall of Fame skipper Tony La Russa, who will be in the dugout for the club for the first time since 1986. Their closer for 2020 was Alex Colome, an All-Star in Tampa Bay, who is now a free agent. It’s likely that Hendriks will now be the closer going forward seeing as he’s been given the largest deal of the offseason thus far as of now.
That’s certainly an intriguing deal for all parties involved. Of course, the White Sox loved the option of having the 2020 Reliever of the Year and landed their man. However, the buyout and option are at the same price tag, a risky move for the Southsiders on Hendricks, who’ll be entering his age 36 season should they opt to renew the deal that extra season.