While free-agent shortstop Marcus Semien’s future with the A’s remains uncertain, one certainty is that it’s highly unlikely reliever Liam Hendriks will be wearing a Green and Gold uniform in 2021.
According to The San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser, some big-market teams are expected to pursue the 2020 AL Reliever of the Year including the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies and the Houston Astros.
Hendriks sees the writing on the wall that his tenure in Oakland likely is over.
“It’s an exciting time, but bittersweet, because we have friends with the Oakland organization,” Hendriks told Slusser on The Chronicle’s “A’s Plus” podcast. “Not just players, but coaches and front-office staff and personnel at the stadium, it’s always a tough time going into something like this because of how much you’re subtracting. It’s an exciting time for what we’re looking forward to, but a sad time because of what we’re leaving behind.”
USA Today’s Bob Nightengale also mentioned the Chicago White Sox have shown interest in Hendriks. And while typically the Sox aren’t ones to make a splash, they’ve made multiple moves to show they’re not messing around this offseason.
The team recently traded for veteran starter Lance Lynn from the Texas Rangers and signed outfielder Adam Eaton.
Each of the top teams listed has every reason to pursue someone of Hendriks’ caliber.
The 2019 All-Star arguably was the league’s best closer over the last two seasons. Across those seasons, he averaged a 1.79 ERA and 0.90 WHIP.
During the 2020 season, his fastball velocity landed him in the 87th percentile of the league and his fastball spin was in the 85th percentile. He also has a very impressive vertical movement on his four-seamer.
MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand told NBC Sports California last month it’s not likely Hendriks returns, but it’s simply because too many big-name teams want him.
Hendriks’ story alone will have you rooting for him. Going from being DFA’d multiple times to walking the All-Star red carpet, he created a force in the A’s bullpen and was the main reason the team managed to have one of the best ERA’s in the league.
It appears likely he will take those talents elsewhere in 2021.