The White Sox could reportedly trade closer Liam Hendriks this offseason.
According to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, Hendriks’ name has been coming up in trade talks with other clubs. 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.
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.
White Sox GM Rick Hahn mentioned in his year-end press conference that going the trade route might be more realistic this offseason than spending big on free agents, especially factoring in the team’s budget constraints.
“Yes, you have to be open to that because, look, we’re not just going to able to throw money at the problem. You might have to have to get creative, and the trade market may be a more fruitful path for us to go as opposed to free agency in the coming months… You want to make sure that you’re comfortable enough to make those tough decisions about players that you may have signed, developed, or traded for and you don’t get caught in some sort of bias in favor of what we thought we put together. But I’m confident that we’ll be able to evaluate any of the opportunities that come along over the next few months objectively… even if that means cutting into guys that we previously thought would be with us for an extended period of time.”
What would it look like to strike a deal for Hendriks? It’s tough to say. Two years and $29M is incredibly affordable for one of the top closers in the game, especially considering the Mets signed Edwin Diaz to a five-year, $102M deal earlier this offseason. Teams such as the Yankees, Blue Jays, Phillies, and Dodgers would benefit from such a lock-down closer in the back end of their bullpen. For the White Sox, it would likely open up more opportunities for Reynaldo Lopez and Kendall Graveman, among others.
But, the White Sox clearly aren’t averse to making a big move this offseason, continuing to claim everything is on the table.
As more information becomes available, we will continue to provide updates.
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