Oakland Athletics have decision to make with Liam Hendriks
By David Hill
The Oakland Athletics have two players that could get a Qualifying Offer, depending on how Liam Hendriks performs this season.
If the 2020 season ever gets underway, the clock will be ticking for several members of the Oakland Athletics. For Marcus Semien and Liam Hendriks, it will be a slow march towards the offseason, when both players are likely to test free agency.
Likewise, for the A’s, it will be a countdown to a decision they will also need to make. With both players likely to depart based on their expected contracts, the A’s will need to decide whether or not to make a Qualifying Offer to both.
In the case of Semien, the decision is easy. He finished third in the AL MVP vote last year after a breakout season, essentially guaranteeing that he will end up beyond the A’s budget. Even if he produces 75% of his 2019 production, he would still be one of the top free agents in baseball.
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Hendriks is a far more interesting case. After pitching for four different teams with below average results, he suddenly became one of the best closers in the game in 2019. A change in mindset and body, along with increased velocity and a revamping of his arsenal, turned Hendriks into a dominant force in the bullpen.
But one season does not a Qualifying Offer make. Hendriks will need to back up that performance, dominating once again, for the A’s to even consider extending such an offer. Should the 2020 season be canceled due to the pandemic, then he has likely pitched his last game for Oakland.
Even if Hendriks does replicate his breakout 2019 showing, giving a reliever that type of money is a risky proposition. Relievers are notoriously volatile, with dominant relievers suddenly falling off a cliff. Or, in the case of a pitcher like Hendriks, seemingly coming from nowhere to dominate before fading back into obscurity.
The 2020 season, should it happen, will go a long way to determining Liam Hendriks’ future. Another strong showing could force the Oakland Athletics to extend a Qualifying Offer to retain his services.