1. Liam Hendriks
The former Oakland A’s closers is a free agent and could be a big pickup for the Yankees.
Liam Hendriks has been a revelation the last two seasons, registering a 1.79 ERA, 39 saves and 161 strikeouts across 110.1 innings of work, but that’s bad news for the Oakland Athletics because the right-hander just priced himself out of the Bay Area.
A prohibitive cost for a small market team is a bargain for a big market team, and that’s exactly what we have here. Hendriks will be 32 by the time the 2021 season starts, so it’s hard to believe he’s going to command a ton of money, especially given the pandemic circumstances. Plus, if he’s willingly signing on as a setup man for the Yankees, that’ll probably lower his price tag a tad.
And the fact of the matter is the Bombers aren’t going to pay him more than (or close to) what Britton would’ve made, solely out of principle. The lefty has been just as good, sans the saves and strikeouts. Britton makes up for his lack of strikeouts by inducing groundouts like it’s nothing. And he’d probably have similar save numbers if he had been closing for the Yankees.
Nonetheless, he’s a great fit for the Yankees, would get a much bigger contract after going through the arbitration process in Oakland, and would be put in a position to win, which could entice him. Plus, he’s got four pitches. Though he mostly uses his fastball, which averages 96 MPH, and slider, he also sports a curveball and changeup. That type of mix is huge for the back end of the bullpen.
The sad reality here is that the Yankees could strategize here to get themselves out of Britton’s sizable contract and capitalize on a free agent class that will be desperate once owners across the league exercise financial caution.
Do you think if the Yankees came forward with a three-year, $20 million deal, Hendriks wouldn’t take it?