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Potential Ranger trade target: Liam Hendriks

White Sox closer Liam Hendriks is rumored to be available, and the Rangers could be a team with interest

Chicago White Sox v Minnesota Twins Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images

MLB Rumors: Liam Hendriks has been said to be available via trade from the Chicago White Sox this offseason, with Mark Feinsand listing him as one of ten players who could potentially be on the move as the offseason trade market heats up. Hendriks has experience closing and is under team control through 2024, being under contract for $14 million in 2023 and a team option that becomes guaranteed if he is traded for $15 million in 2024.

The Rangers have been widely reported to be in the market for bullpen help, and with no clear-cut closer option for 2023, I would suspect that they’d like to add someone with closing experience who they could anoint as the closer heading into ths spring training. Hendriks would fit the bill, while also having the added benefit of being a very good pitcher — he’s put up a 2.26 ERA and a 2.13 FIP in 239 innings since the start of 2019.

Hendriks turns 34 in February, and has had an unusual career arc — he’s an Australian who signed in February, 2007, with the Minnesota Twins as an amateur free agent. He came up with the Twins, pitched poorly for them in parts of three seasons, got waived and claimed three times in the 2013-14 offseason, ended up with the Toronto Blue Jays, was traded by the Jays to the Kansas City Royals for Danny Valencia, was re-acquired by the Jays that offseason, and then was dealt to the Oakland A’s after the 2015 season for our old friend Jesse Chavez.

Hendriks spent his first three years in Oakland as a rather mediocre middle reliever, but then exploded in 2019, putting up a 1.80 ERA in 85 innings. He finished 9th in the Cy Young balloting with the A’s in 2020 before signing with the White Sox as a free agent after that season.

The cost for Hendriks wouldn’t be cheap — I’d expect one of the myriad of minor league middle infielders to be of interest to Chicago, particularly Ezequiel Duran, who could potentially step right into the lineup at second base to start the 2023 season. With Lance Lynn, Lucas Giolito and Mike Clevinger all slated to become free agents at the end of the 2023 season, near major league ready starting pitching would be something Chicago would be looking for.

It isn’t a given that Hendriks will be moved, or that the Rangers would aggressively pursue him if he is moved. But he’s someone I’d keep an eye on as the winter progresses.