Possible Destinations for Liam Hendriks

Liam Hendriks

Liam Hendriks put together a spectacular season in 2019, posting a 1.80 ERA, 0.965 WHIP, 124 strikeouts, and 25 saves were all part of an All-Star campaign. 2020 was even better, posting a 1.78 ERA with a 0.671 WHIP in 25 1/3 innings. Although this is a short sample size, he is going into free agency as one of the biggest names on the market. Among relievers, he is one of the most-sought-after free agents. He was not given a qualifying offer by the Oakland A’s. Here are some possible destinations for reliever Liam Hendriks:

1. Philadelphia Phillies

This is almost too obvious. Hendriks is the best reliver on the market and the Philadelphia Phillies are the most bullpen-needy team. The Phillies’ relievers posted a 7.06 ERA in 2020, the worst by a team in a single season in over 60 years. With Philadelphia jumping into contention after signing Bryce Harper and Jake Arrieta in recent offseasons, they have done nothing but disappoint. Under Gabe Kapler and Joe Girardi, the team has gone 109-113 between 2019 and 2020. Adding Hendriks won’t solve all of their problems as All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto is also a free agent, but it will help aid reliable starters Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler.

Mark D’Aquila, a writer for Last Word On Baseball, covers the Phillies and had the following to say in regards to the Phillies pursuing Hendriks.

“I definitely think Hendriks is a need for this bullpen and should be one of [their] top targets,” D’Aquila said. “I worry about paying a bullpen arm top dollar because they can be so volatile from year to year (see Blake Treinen, Edwin Diaz), but Hendriks has been consistent over the past two seasons. Hendriks would be, personally, my top choice in the bullpen.”

2. New York Mets

With a new owner and revamped front office, the New York Mets could use a boost in their roster. While their closing situation was in good hands with Edwin Diaz, the rest of pitching staff was iffy outside of Jacob deGrom. Adding Hendriks to the bullpen would make for an excellent 8th/9th inning, 1-2 punch. The Mets need to add a starter if they intend on competing in 2021, but Hendriks would provide an all-star caliber arm to accent Diaz. New York’s pitching staff ERA for 2020 was 4.98, good enough for 22nd in the MLB. The Mets imminent priority should be a starting pitcher, but Hendriks would be a great grab to help the bullpen situation.

3. San Diego Padres

The San Diego Padres made the playoffs for the first time since 2006 in 2020, doing so with the third best record in the MLB. They are in prime contention for a championship, considering their young core and good balance of pitching and hitting. While the Pads have spent big money on their offense in the last few off-seasons in Eric Hosmer and Manny Machado, they have a need for relief pitching this time around. Drew Pomeranz was excellent in 2020 as a on-and-off closer, but Hendriks would create a great combo with the left-handed Pomeranz. Kirby Yates and Trevor Rosenthal are both free agents, so Hendriks makes all the more sense to fill the gaps created by Yates and Rosenthal’s absence.

It is good to keep in mind that the Friars are in the Trevor Bauer sweepstakes, especially now that Mike Clevinger needs Tommy John surgery. Either way, with Yates and  Rosenthal free agents, they should pursue Hendriks strongly.


Hendriks will be a great upgrade to any bullpen. The San Francisco Giants, Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Houston Astros are all possible bidders for the reliever. He will provide an all-star caliber arm, but will come at a big price. I see him getting a 2-3 year deal worth roughly $35-60 million in total. He is on the wrong side of 30 (32 in February), but has proven himself as a reliable pitcher the last two years. We will have to wait and see where the most sought after reliever on the market falls come this hot stove season, but don’t be surprised if he signs very soon.

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