1. Liam Hendriks
Staying in Chicago, the Yankees can (and should) contact the White Sox about closer Liam Hendriks, who was reportedly being discussed in trades less than two weeks ago. He’s under contract for $14.33 million in 2023 and has a $15 million club option for 2024. That’s a best-case scenario for the Yankees.
No long-term commitment. Likely a doable trade price, because he’s entering his age-34 season at a high cost. And the White Sox don’t really have any reason to pay a top closer when they’re clearly not in a position to contend, based on how 2022 unfolded for them (they also lost Jose Abreu in free agency, with AJ Pollock and Josh Harrison likely to follow).
The Yankees’ bullpen needs an anchor. Clay Holmes showed the potential to be that guy, but then fell off a cliff once injuries affected him and his mechanics were off just a touch. Michael King is on the mend, but elbow injuries are tricky — the Yankees would be silly to bank on a clean bill of health for him in 2023. Jonathan Loaisiga is a wild card. Wandy Peralta is not a closer. Aroldis Chapman and Zack Britton are gone.
If Hendriks is the go-to ninth-inning man — a locked down role the Yankees love to have — that would make for a more stable situation and give manager Aaron Boone flexibility to bridge the gap to the Australian right-hander, rather than having him guess who might be closing on any given evening.
The financial price is right for Hendriks (he’s cheaper than Kenley Jansen’s Red Sox contract!). All the Yankees have to do now is weigh the trade cost.