Liam Hendriks Diagnosed with Cancer

Closer of the White Sox, Liam Hendriks has announced via his IG (Instagram) that he unfortunately has Cancer.

Hearing the word ’cancer’ came as a shock to my wife and I, as it does to millions of families each year. However, I am resolved to embrace the fight and overcome this new challenge with the same determination I have used when facing other obstacles in my life

My treatment begins tomorrow, and I am confident that I will make a full recovery and be back on the mound as soon as possible. I know with the support of my wife, my family, my teammates, and the Chicago White Sox organization, along with the treatment and care from my doctors, I will get through this.”

Via Hendriks’ IG

Hendriks is currently listed as the closer for the Chicago White Sox, however, rumors across the internet have the Mets targeting the right-hander for bullpen help. The veteran is two years deep into a three year deal worth $54M, not an impossible contract to relocate.

Unfortunately, all that is currently on hold as Hendriks will receive treatment for non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

General Manager of the White Sox, Rick Hanh has released a statement on behalf of the organization.

Our thoughts and reactions at this time are for Liam the person, not Liam the baseball player. I know the entire Chicago White Sox organization, our staff, his teammates, and certainly White Sox fans, will rally in support of Liam and Kristi during the coming months. Knowing everyone involved, especially Liam, we are optimistic he will pitch again for the White Sox as soon as viable. In the meantime, we all will do everything in our power to support our teammate and his family as they face this challenge, while also respecting their privacy. We do not expect to have any updates on Liam’s playing status prior to Opening Day at the very earliest.”

Hendriks has a career 3.81 ERA over the span of 12 seasons. The veteran has collected 115 saves throughout his career, including a career high of 38 with the Sox in 2019.

Prayers go out to Hendriks and his family as they fight this horrible disease.

Mets showing interest in star reliever

According to RotoWorld Baseball the Mets have shown interest in star closer Liam Hendrick. The Australian native has been one of the most dominant relievers in the majors, coming to his own since moving to the pen.

Over the last two seasons, Hendricks has pitched to a 1.79 ERA over 110.1 innings. Over that span the righty has struck out 161 batters, good for 13.1 strikeouts per nine. His whiff % is third among relievers since 2019 at 35.4%. Only behind Josh Hader and current Mets closer Edwin Diaz.

The strikeouts aren’t the only stunning numbers. Hendricks allowed just 2 walks per nine and doesn’t allow many bombs. His WHIP is a dominant 0.89 in that span. Dominant numbers across the board for Hendricks.

Also read: Mets Trade Target: Sonny Gray

If the Mets add Hendricks, their plan looks like they want to have a dominant back end pen. A pen that can shut you out from the 6th inning on. With Diaz, May, Hendricks and hopefully Lugo, you have a deep and dominant pen. With Hendricks, the need for a lefty isn’t as strong because all those guys can get lefties out in a dominant way.

With that type of pen, you might be able to go with some lesser arms in your rotation. Pitchers who are effecitive for the first 5/6 innings. The Mets can look more heavily in the second tier guys instead of the big guns.

Its obvious that the Mets are still looking at different ways to build their winner. Liam Hendricks would make the pen lethal and would provide some arms to have a bounce back season without the big pressure on them.

If the Mets do get Hendricks, I do not see Bauer coming, as I see the Mets taking a lesser arm in front of the four headed monster.

Photo from FanSided

Also read: Free Agent Target: Garrett Richards

Free Agent Target: Liam Hendriks

Hendriks is a 10 year Major League veteran that’s just recently making a name for himself on a national scale. For the first six years of the right handers career, Hendriks was utilized as a starting pitcher and wasn’t at all impressive. Since his move to the pen however, Hendriks has been able to carve himself out quite the run.

As a reliever, Hendriks owns a 3.17 ERA as opposed to a 5.80 ERA when starting. In 334.2 innings of relief, Hendriks has given up 303 hits but has struck out 415 while only allowing 28 long balls.

Also read: Shaping up the Mets bullpen

While he’s been a great reliever, over the past two seasons he’s been performing at an elite level. In 2019, Hendriks put up a 1.80 ERA in 75 appearances, striking out an amazing 124 batters in 85 innings pitched, wow.

While I do worry about him turning into Wade Davis, who’s been terrible since joining the Colorado Rockies, the upside would be completely worth it. On “The Mets Junkies Podcast”, I predicted the Mets sign Hendriks for 3 years, in between $28-33M in total.

Baseball Reference has the right-hander having a solid 2021 season with a 3.19 ERA with 9 saves and 58 strikeouts in 48 innings pitched. While it seems the site has Hendriks as a set-up man going forward, it seems like the stuff and the numbers are good enough to close games out.

Also read: More arms the Mets have shown early interest in

Photo by Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

Shaping up the Mets bullpen

With the off-season under way, the Mets need to see how they can improve their pen. One big issue is, there aren’t many spot left to fill with Brach and Betances picking up their options. So how can the Mets improve their pen without many additions?

Add a dominant closer?

Liam Hendriks is the biggest name out their. The former closer from the Athletics is coming off great seasons on the west side. Over the last 2 seasons, Hendriks has been one of the most dominant relievers. In 2019, Hendriks pitched to a 1.80 ERA, with a WHIP just under 1 and 13.1 strikeouts per nine. He followed it up with an even better (short) season. In 25 innings he pitched to a 1.78 ERA and a 1.14 FIP with a 0.67 WHIP! It’s no secret the Australian native is the hot ticket item in the relievers market. Getting Hendriks would cost but makes a pen with Diaz, Hendricks and probably Lugo a deadly final three. However, I won’t expect the Mets to go that way.

Also read: The Mets Junkies Fix: The Press Conference (Episode 1)

In between adding a lefty and closer?

The rest of the article is about lefties, but there is one name that fits thw lefty need AND is a dominant closer: Indians closer Brad Hand. The Indians didn’t pick up his 1/10m option and no other team surprisingly claimed him off waivers. Hand was terrific in 2020 pitching to a 2.05 ERA in 22 innings. His 0.77 WHIP was his lowest of his career. Another big plus is that Hand has been very consistent since his move to a full time reliever in 2016. Over his career Hand has a 2.96 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP as a reliever. Hand is the guy I want. He has been as solid and dependable as it gets. Plus, him being a lefty is a major need for the Mets.

Adding a lefty?

Non closers, that are lefties is the last option to take a look at IMO. If the Mets go for a middle reliever, take a lefty to get some balance in the pen. Two names come to mind are resigning Justin Wilson or Jose Alvarez. First off Wilson, we all know Wilson and how solid he is. Last season his ERA was slightly higher than we hoped (3.66 ERA in 19.2), but his exit velo against were very strong. His exit velo against was in the 96th best percentile (hard hit% 92 percentile). His expected ERA was in the 75th best percentile, also very strong. It’s expected to see the 2019 Wilson back, who was very good for us.

Also read: Free Agent Target: Alex Colome

Another name is Jose Alvarez, the former Phillies and Angels reliever is coming off a season, were he pitched just 6.1 innings. So let’s forget about that and look at his 2019 stats. In 59 innings he pitched to a 3.36 ERA. However his WHIP was fairly high at 1.42, which you don’t want from your lefty. 2019 was his worst season in a while as he was better as an Angel in 2018 (2.71 ERA/3.08FIP in 63 innings). Overall Alvarez should be fairly cheap option to add our much needed lefty in the pen.

Current Mets pen:

The current Mets bullpen has a lot of arms set for a spot already. Diaz is our closer, Lugo, Familia, Betances, Brach and Castro are close to locks in the pen. The Mets also have Drew Smith, who has been fairly solid and Tropeano or Gsellman as long man options (my guess is Gsellman is gone). Jacob Barnes is another name they claimed, who is out of options. In all likehood they can add one on a mlb deal and add more on milb deals. IMO it should be Brad Hand or Justin Wilson.

Also read: Mets Trade Target: Jo Adell & Miguel Castro is a hidden gem

Photo from Pinterest