1. Kyle Hendricks
Heading into this year, everyone figured Kyle Hendricks would be among the saviors keeping the Chicago Cubs afloat. He’s been the one constant in the rotation for years and the team had traded Yu Darvish. For the first time, it was Hendricks by himself atop the rotation.
He’s typically profiled as the perfect No. 2. His arsenal of pitches allows him to go deep into games and constantly throw hitters off balance. He isn’t overpowering, which would’ve been a perfect complement to Gerrit Cole. Hendricks is Mussina-esque in many ways.
But he was always going to cost a lot. He’s been nothing but effective since debuting since 2014 and the Cubs shrewdly inked him to a team-friendly extension not too long ago, which will see him make just $14 million per season through 2023 (with a vesting option for 2024).
That fits the Yankees’ current window perfectly, doesn’t it?!
Well, not this April window. Hendricks, who rarely surrenders home runs, leads the NL with five allowed through his first three starts (only 13 innings pitched). He was already scratched from a start due to an illness. He’s got a 6.92 ERA and wildly uncharacteristic 1.69 WHIP after his first three outings. The Cubs have lost every game he’s stepped on the mound.
Of all the desired trade candidates in the offseason pitching pool, Hendricks was expected to carry the heftiest price tag. Again, this would not have gone over well with the fan base when you bake in the rest of the struggles this team is currently enduring at the moment.
Though this will not continue for Hendricks — he’s simply too good to not find his footing before long — what would the bleacher creatures be doing right now if Cashman went for it all and sent Jasson Dominguez to the Cubs for the right-hander? Good God, please don’t answer that question.