This evening, star relief pitcher Liam Hendriks and the Chicago White Sox agreed to a multi-year deal worth 3 years and $39 million with a $15 million buyout or $15 million team option after the third year of the contract (via Jeff Passan). Essentially, Hendriks’ deal is either a 3 or 4 year contract worth $54 million depending on if the White Sox want him on their roster in 2024.
Since the start of the 2019 season, Hendriks has a phenomenal 1.79 ERA, 1.70 FIP, 2.95 xFIP, 2.42 SIERA, 32.3 K-BB%, and 5.2 fWAR in 110.1 innings pitched. As a result of his excellent performance on the mound, Hendriks won the 2020 AL Reliever of the Year award and was nominated (and snubbed) for the award in 2019 when Aroldis Chapman won.
After making the Postseason for the first time since 2008 in 2020, the Chicago White Sox have put themselves in a great position to return once again in 2021 with the addition of Hendriks in addition to starting pitcher Lance Lynn. In 2021, Hendriks will be the star of the White Sox already stud bullpen that includes Evan Marshall, Codi Heuer, Matt Foster, Garrett Crochet, and Aaron Bummer. With the signing of Hendriks, it seems as if 2020 closer Alex Colome will have to find a new home in 2021. Although Colome had a fantastic 0.81 ERA in 2020, his peripherals and projections both suggest that he’s most likely going to take a step backward in 2021.
As a result of signing with the White Sox, Hendriks’ 5 season tenure with the Oakland A’s has officially come to an end. In addition to losing Hendriks, the A’s have already lost Robbie Grossman and could also lose Marcus Semien and Tommy La Stella among others to free agency. Although the A’s won the AL West in 2020, it will be hard for the team to retain their current free agents or bring in other top talents via free agency due to the team’s low budget.
I would give the White Sox an A for the signing of Liam Hendriks. Although he will be receiving an AAV of either $18 million or $14 million (depending on if the deal ends up being 3 or 4 years) and that he’s 31 years old, Hendriks is a top relief pitcher in baseball and the White Sox are starting to enter their contention window. If Hendriks is able to replicate his success from 2019-2020 or even regress slightly, the White Sox will be put in a great position to win games for the next few years.