The Chicago White Sox just added the best reliever in baseball. According to Ken Rosenthal closer Liam Hendriks has reached an agreement with the White Sox pending a physical. It is a three year deal with a fourth year option and 54 million guaranteed. Hours before the deal was announced MLB Network listed Hendriks as the best relief pitcher in the game right now.
If the White Sox decline the option, they will be able to pay the $15 million buyout over the course of multiple years. But the incentive certainly is there for the team to pick it up. And by going that big, the White Sox get the best closer in baseball the last two seasons.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 12, 2021
This is the third major addition the White Sox have made this offseason. Rick Hahn was busy early as he traded Dane Dunning for Lance Lynn. He then signed Adam Eaton to a one year deal. The White Sox will still have the flexibility to make significant move. Lynn, Eaton and now Hendricks only added $28 million to the payroll.
Liam Hendrik’s is coming off two of the most dominant seasons of his career. Last season he had a 1.78 ERA. He tallied 14 saves, 37 strikeouts and only three walks in 25 1/3 innings of work. He finished ninth in the AL Cy Young voting and even got MVP consideration coming in at 13th. The year before he was an All-star and once again had a sub two ERA (1.80). The White Sox experienced Hendriks dominance first hand in Game 3 of the AL Wildcard Series when he slammed the door on the White Sox in the ninth inning.
He will now join a bullpen that already has their fair share of weapons. Aaron Bummer was ranked the eight best reliever in baseball according to MLB Network giving the White Sox two pitchers in the top 10. The White Sox also have Evan Marshall, Codi Heuer, Garrett Crochet and Matt Foster. Manager Tony La Russa will have plenty of options to get set up Hendricks in the ninth inning.
The White Sox have now checked starting pitching depth and bullpen arm off their to do list. Perhaps a designated hitter could be coming next. But one thing is clear, this move reaffirms that it is World Series or bust for the White Sox.