After a relatively quiet offseason thus far, rumors are starting to circulate around Oakland A’s closer Liam Hendriks.
It was a matter of time before the rumor mill began with Liam Hendriks. The Oakland A’s closer is arguably the top reliever available in free agency, and with multiple contenders in desperate need of bullpen help, Hendriks was expected to be atop several wish lists. But to this point, everything had been quiet.
That may be about to change. Hendriks’ rumor mill is starting to heat up, as the White Sox are reportedly interested in his services.
The White Sox had a solid closer last year in Alex Colome. Another free agent, he posted a 0.81 ERA and a 0.940 WHiP while notching 12 saves. In his 22.1 innings, he struck out 16 batters with eight walks, allowing only 13 hits. Chicago is interested in bringing him back, so it is not a guarantee that Hendriks heads to the south side.
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But there is a difference in Colome and Hendriks. While Colome has been a solid option in the ninth inning, Hendriks has been dominant. The 2020 AL Reliever of the Year posted a 1.78 ERA and a 0.671 WHiP, notching 14 saves. He struck out 37 batters with just three walks in his 25.1 innings, continuing his emergence as a surprisingly dominant force out of the bullpen.
There had been concerns about Hendriks prior to last season. He had a remarkable breakthrough campaign in 2019 after years of mediocrity, leaving plenty of questions as to whether or not he would be able to replicate that success.
Not only did Hendriks put an end to those questions, but he continued to establish himself as one of the best relievers in the game. To this point, teams have focused on less expensive options, but as the offseason goes on, those holes in the bullpen will loom larger. Having someone the caliber of Hendriks to lock down the ninth inning will go a long way for a contending team.
The rumor mill had been quiet when it came to Liam Hendriks. That is about to change.