Rumors continue to swirl around the White Sox and their bullpen, and the ones about their closer just won’t seem to go away completely.
According to Michael Mayer of Metsmerized Online, the New York Mets are one of the teams that has contacted the White Sox about the availability of Liam Hendriks. Jon Heyman later confirmed this report.
During the Winter Meetings, reports surfaced that the White Sox had indeed received a lot of interest in Liam Hendriks, and while Rick Hahn has claimed “everything is on the table” this offseason, it does not appear that the White Sox have significant interest in moving their closer at this time.
Hendriks, who was originally signed during the 2020 offseason, put together another solid campaign for the South Siders in 2022. Highlighted by his second consecutive All-Star nod, Hendriks went 4-4 with a 2.81 ERA (18 ER/57.2 IP), 85 strikeouts, 13.3 K/9, 1.040 WHIP, and converted 37 of his 41 save opportunities. Though his numbers were down slightly from his dominant 2021 season, there are very few negatives to take away, and that is why he is likely one of the team’s most attractive trade chips this offseason.
In terms of his contract, Hendriks is owed $14 million in 2023 and has a $15 million club option for 2024. The buyout on the option is a little unique in that it’s $15 million paid out in 10 annual installments of $1.5 million. Should Hendriks be traded, then that option becomes a guaranteed year for the 2024 season. So, whichever team would acquire Hendriks would get him for two years and $29M. The 33-year-old has a limited no-trade clause that allows him to veto a deal to five clubs, giving the Sox some potential flexibility.
It’s tough to find a good trade fit for the White Sox and Mets when it comes to Hendriks. While the White Sox would theoretically be looking for some sort of major-league talent in exchange for Hendriks, the Mets don’t have a lot of expendable players at the major-league level. Perhaps a player such as Jeff McNeil could become available, though he would leave the Mets without a clear option at second base and a straight Hendriks for McNeil swap likely does not leave the Mets feeling like it’s a good enough deal. Eduardo Escobar isn’t a strong enough return for Hendriks, and in addition, none of the Mets’ outfielders are really likely to go anywhere either.
That means the White Sox and Mets would have to turn toward prospects. The Mets don’t seem particularly incentivized to move their catcher of the future, Francisco Alvarez, and infielder Ronny Mauricio does not have the ceiling the White Sox would likely hope for in a trade of Hendriks. In addition, two of their top prospects – Mark Vientos and Bretty Baty – both play third base, so there isn’t a great positional fit here unless the White Sox are willing to move Yoan Moncada back to second base. This may be the only scenario in which it is possible for the White Sox and Mets to make a trade involving Hendriks.
However, as more information becomes available, we will continue to provide updates.
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