White Sox To Sign Liam Hendriks To Multiyear Deal? (www.baseball-reference.com)

The White Sox have reached an agreement with free-agent reliever

, pending a physical, Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports reports. It’s a three-year, $54 million guarantee with a club option for a fourth season, per Mark Feinsand of MLB.com. Both the option and buyout are worth $15 million, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, who adds that the White Sox would be able to pay the buyout over multiple years. Hendriks is a client of ALIGND Sports Agency.

So far, this is the largest guarantee given to any free agent during what has been a slow-moving offseason. It comes as a surprise considering how the winter opened for relievers, as Cleveland waived star closer Brad Hand in lieu of paying him a $10 million option for 2021 and no other team claimed him. After that, it would have been easy expect relievers to continue faring somewhat poorly this offseason, but Hendriks will be paid handsomely. In fact, at $18 million per year, Hendriks will surpass the record average annual value for a reliever that Wade Davis set before 2018 when he signed a three-year, $52 million contract with the Rockies. Hendriks’ deal also blows past the three-year, $30 million prediction MLBTR made for him before the offseason.

Just a couple of years ago, it would have been almost impossible to imagine Hendriks at this point. The Athletics outrighted him in July 2018, but he came back with a vengeance as a member of the team that September and carried it over into the 2019 and ’20 campaigns. Hendriks was the majors’ most effective late-game arm during that span, as he pitched to a 1.66 ERA with a similarly astounding 33.1 percent strikeout-walk percentage, piled up 39 saves out of 47 chances, and won American League Reliever of the Year honors  in 2020.

Based on what he has done in recent seasons, Hendriks, 31, looks like an enormous loss for the A’s – whom the White Sox knocked out of the first round of last fall’s playoffs – and a massive pickup for Chicago. The White Sox earned their first trip to the postseason since 2008 last season, and they’re one of the few teams in baseball that have been active since then. Assuming the Hendriks deal goes through, he’ll be their third noteworthy pickup of the offseason, joining starter Lance Lynn and outfielder Adam Eaton.

Based on what he has done in recent seasons, Hendriks, 31, looks like an enormous loss for the A’s – whom the White Sox knocked out of the first round of last fall’s playoffs – and a massive pickup for Chicago. The White Sox earned their first trip to the postseason since 2008 last season, and they’re one of the few teams in baseball that have been active since then. Assuming the Hendriks deal goes through, he’ll be their third noteworthy pickup of the offseason, joining starter Lance Lynn and outfielder Adam Eaton.

Also a former Twin, Royal and Blue Jay, Hendriks should be in line to take over for free agent Alex Colome as Chicago’s closer. The Australia native will be the highest-profile member of a White Sox relief corps that finished seventh in the majors in ERA (3.76) last year, when holdovers Evan Marshall, Aaron Bummer, Matt Foster and Codi Heuer turned in terrific results. With Hendriks coming in, Chicago’s bullpen could be even better in 2021.



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