Oakland A’s: Liam Hendriks considered Phillies top bullpen target
By David Hill
Oakland A’s closer Liam Hendriks could have a new home soon, as he is expected to be the top relief target for the Phillies.
Liam Hendriks opened a lot of eyes during his last two seasons with the Oakland A’s. He had gone from anonymity as a middle reliever to becoming one of the more dominant closers in the game. It is not a surprise that, as free agency begins, Hendriks will be one of the more highly sought after relievers on the market.
Considering how many teams need bullpen help, Hendriks is expected to receive a significant payday, even as teams are looking to cut expenses. He is expected to be atop the wish list for many teams, a piece that whichever team lands his services can build around.
The Phillies are expected to be one of those teams to heavily pursue Hendriks. Their postseason aspirations have taken a major hit due to the struggles of their bullpen, especially in 2020. Despite their efforts to completely overhaul their relief corps, the Phillies bullpen issues ruined their season.
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It is easy to see why Hendriks will be in such high demand. Over the past two seasons, he has combined for a 1.79 ERA and a 0.897 WHiP over his 110.1 innings, striking out 161 batters with just 24 walks. He was equally impressive at keeping the ball in the yard, allowing just six homers over the past two seasons.
Hendriks has been recognized for that dominance. He was an All Star in 2019, and named as the AL Reliever of the Year in 2020. It is highly likely that he will be a part of the All MLB Team for this past season as well, and could receive a handful of votes in the Cy Young vote.
The Phillies could absolutely use a piece like Hendriks. They had attempted to fix their bullpen last year, acquiring Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree. Workman was a disaster and is a free agent. Hembree was even worse, and was let go. Adding a dominant closer could help Philadelphia return to the postseason.
It is not a surprise that the Phillies would be interested in Oakland A’s closer Liam Hendriks. It would be far more surprising if he was not atop their list.