The top free agent closer in Major League Baseball is no longer on the market. Per reports Liam Hendriks will sign with the Chicago White Sox on a three-year deal with an option for a fourth. It also guarantees him $54 million dollars.
Hendriks really made his mark the past two seasons with the Oakland Athletics. It’s also not surprising that he didn’t get re-signed. Closers are not deemed a valuable commodity to the franchise regardless of their success.
Interestingly enough it wasn’t that long ago that A’s fans were ready to move on from Hendriks. He didn’t pitch particularly well after being acquired in trade with the Toronto Blue Jays. From 2016-2018 his ERA was 4.01 and he did strike out 171 while walking 47.
In 2019, Hendriks took over the closer role from the struggling Blake Treinen who a year before saved 38 games with an ERA of .78.
For Hendriks he never looked back. He saved 25 games and finished with a 1.80 ERA. He also ended the year with 124 strikeouts and walked only 21.
In the shortened 60 game season he was dominant again. His only blemish his last game of the regular season in which he gave up two hits and three runs. Which took his ERA up from 1.13 to 1.78. Still finished with 14 saves and he struck out 37 while walking only three.
Still he saved his most impressive performance for what is now his final appearance with the A’s. He threw three innings, didn’t allow a run, picked up the victory and struck out four while walking none against the Houston Astros to keep Oakland’s season alive.
Hendriks was also named the 2020 Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year. In 2019 he finished ninth in Cy Young Award voting and 13th in Most Valuable Player voting.
Once Hendriks passes his physical and the deal is complete the White Sox are signing the best closer in baseball. With a solid young nucleus it’s a team that is on the verge of a World Series.