Red Sox Land Injured Fan-Favorite Pitcher On $10 Million Deal

Liam Hendriks

Getty Liam Hendriks

The Boston Red Sox have agreed to terms with ex-Chicago White Sox closer Liam Hendriks on a two-year, $10 million deal, according to ESPN’s Buston Olney. Having undergone Tommy John surgery in August 2023 and missing the remainder of last season, the two-time AL Reliever of the Year will start 2024 on the Injured List and isn’t expected to return to the mound until late this season, at the earliest.

The 2023 season was an extremely tumultuous one for Hendriks, who survived stage 4 non-Hodgkin lymphoma that was diagnosed in late 2022. He started the season on the IL as he recovered from treatment, making his 2023 debut on May 29. Unfortunately, he only pitched five games before returning to the IL with elbow inflammation, which was eventually diagnosed as torn ulnar collateral ligament requiring Tommy John surgery.

According to MassLive’s Chris Cotillo, Hendriks is aiming to return to the mound “around the trade deadline this season.”

In his five appearances with the White Sox in 2023, Hendriks posted a 5.40 ERA with 2 wins and 1 save, winning AL Comeback Player of the Year and the Jimmy V Award. The season prior, he compiled a 2.81 ERA with 85 strikeouts, 4 wins, and 37 saves, earning him his third All-Star Game selection.

From 2019 to 2022, Hendriks was one of the best relievers in MLB, posting a 2.26 ERA across 226 games with a 359-to-47 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He was the AL saves leader in 2021, and has twice been named to the All-MLB First Team (2020, 2021).

Inside Hendriks’ Deal With the Red Sox

On February 19, Olney reported that Hendriks had agreed to a two-year, $10 million deal with the Red Sox, pending a physical. NY Post’s Jon Heyman elaborated that the contract includes additional performance bonuses that can boost the deal’s value to $20 million, plus a mutual option for the 2026 season.

Hendriks’ deal is only Boston’s third free agent signing this winter, alongside starter Lucas Giolito and reliever Cooper Criswell.

The Red Sox’s Closer

The Red Sox are currently going through a very careful rebuild, and on February 17, The Athletic’s Jen McCaffrey reported that Boston’s roster may still change before Opening Day.

“It’s still possible [the Red Sox] will make more moves as the spring progresses. Free agents are still available and Jansen’s trade market is still strong.”

The team has been listening to trade offers on Jansen this winter, and with the Red Sox trying to cut salary and the four-time All-Star earning $16 million in 2024, it seems it’s just a matter of time until he’s moved. If Jansen does start the season as the Red Sox’s closer, a trade is highly likely to be revisited before the deadline, leaving the role available for Hendriks when he moves up from his rehab assignments.

Even if a trade doesn’t come together and Jansen is extended after 2024, he and Hendriks would be a very fierce duo at the back of the bullpen. Like Jansen, current setup man Chris Martin is in the final season of his two-year contract, so it’s not out of the question for the bullpen to be retooled around Hendriks and Jansen after this season.

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