Free-agent reliever Liam Hendriks reportedly agreed to a $54 million contract with the Chicago White Sox on Monday night. The contract is reportedly for three years and an option. He can be bought out of the final year, but the buyout will pay the same as the option. Hendriks, 32 in February, has spent the last five seasons with the Oakland Athletics.
After floating from team to team for the first five years of his career, Hendriks came to Oakland in 2016. Despite an ERA of 4.01 from ’16 to ’18, Hendriks really hit his stride during 2019. That year, he posted a 1.80 ERA, 0.965 WHIP, and 3.5 WAR to go along with 25 saves in 75 games. He followed up his All-Star 2019 season with a dominant 2020. Last year, he posted a 1.78 ERA with 14 saves and a 0.671 WHIP.
Getting Your Money’s Worth
The right-hander entered the 2020 off-season as the most sought after reliever on the market. His last two years of consistently dominant performance was the driving factor behind his free-agency value. While relievers are generally volatile from year to year, Liam Hendriks has proven his dominance with two years of grand performance. These two years may be a small sample size, but they are enticing enough for him to be used in high leverage situations. Playoff experience, recent success, and a shallow market has catapulted Hendriks to the top of the free agent food-chain.
His 2019 and 2020 seasons may not be replicated, but anything similar would be an excellent performance by any means. Hendriks enters 2021 with a career record of 19-27, 4.10 ERA, and 40 saves in 516 1/3 innings. Hendriks has also proven to be a versatile swing-man in the bullpen. Aside from being a prime candidate for closing games, he is also an excellent setup man. With a repertoire consisting of a upper-90’s fastball, a sharp curveball, and a biting slider, there is no doubt that he can fill multiple holes in a bullpen.
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