Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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The White Sox find their closer in Liam Hendriks

The White Sox have signed Liam Hendricks to an $18 million AAV deal, which is record-breaking for a relief pitcher. The deal is a guaranteed $54 million over three years. His contract is actually a three-year $39 million deal, but includes a fourth-year option with $15million. If the White Sox decide not to pick up his option, the buyout is still $15 million. If the White Sox decide to decline the fourth-year option, they can pay his $15 million buyout over the course of several years.

Adding Hendriks fills their closer opening. It also solidifies a bullpen that already has several great arms in Codi Heuer, Aaron Bummer, Evan Marshall and Garrett Crochet. The White Sox now have 40% of the top-10 Cy Young finishers in the American League, Hendriks finished ninth. Lucas Giolito (seventh-place finish) and Dallas Keuchel (fifth-place finish) were already a great one-two punch before the White Sox traded for Lance Lynn (sixth-place finish).

Hendriks went off for a 1.78 ERA and 14 saves in 25.1 innings. He had an impressive K% of 40.2% and an even more impressive BB% of 3.3%. Batters were held to a 0.67 WHIP. There were only 2 Barrels hit off him. Hendriks has a three-pitch repertoire; a fastball, slider, and curveball. According to Baseball Savant, he relied heavily on his fastball, which averaged 96MPH. He was able to increase his spin rate to 2445 RPM and left batters with a .200 batting average when throwing it. His Curveball was used as his put-away pitch 40% of the time, even though he only threw it 26 times.

Image: Baseball Savant

Hendriks is not only coming off an amazing shortened 2020 season, but also a great 2019. He has been one of the best closers over the past two years. Although he will be 32 to start the season, he has been getting better with age. He may have a career 4.10 ERA but has steadily improved since his Oakland stint. Look for him to be closing some big games on the southside, while helping the White Sox take over the AL Central.

All stats from Fangraphs unless otherwise noted.

Michael Flores

Born on the South Side of Chicago, writing about the White Sox. Manage 2 dynasty teams and a yearly redraft team, also a Little League team. Follow me on Twitter @mpflores90