The Chicago White Sox had an incredible 2021 campaign, which resulted in MLB pundits expecting them to win the AL Central in 2022 and continually develop their youthful guys. Injuries and struggles from particular players hindered their performance, but one consistent player over these past two years is White Sox closer, Liam Hendriks.
Hendriks tallied 38 and 37 saves, respectively over the past two years, but it has not resulted in a deep playoff run for Chicago. Losing Jose Abreu in the offseason to the Houston Astros has been an unfortunate development for the White Sox, but they have added a reliable arm in Mike Clevinger. It was shocking to see the rumors and speculations of Hendriks being available in the trade market, so these are a couple of organizations that should seriously discuss adding him to their roster.
Before the 2022 postseason, the Philadelphia Phillies had one of the underwhelming bullpen staff, but that changed immensely in the postseason. Two of the integral pieces in their NL pennant run Zach Eflin and David Robertson have signed new contracts, so they need the bullpen arms like Liam Hendriks to boost their pitching staff.
Hendriks holds a ton of trade value, but Philadelphia is one franchise that is willing to spend a ton of assets in acquiring someone of his caliber. Trea Turner and Taijuan Walker have been tremendous free agent additions already for Philadelphia, but they must still invest in pitching because it was indicative in the postseason how vital that was in all the series.
Another National League team who has been in the middle of all available players is the San Francisco Giants. The players with huge contracts have been removed from the payroll already, so they can retool their lineup by adding someone like former Seattle Mariners outfielder Mitch Haniger. During their previous World Series runs, it was the bullpen that was the main asset of the Giants, so they can start building their team with Hendriks at the back end of their bullpen.
The Giants were in the middle of the Aaron Judge sweepstakes, but missing out on him is not the end of the world. Imagine if San Francisco can get Liam Hendriks, Carlos Correa, and possibly another pitcher to add to their current crop of players would be a fantastic season for the Giants. To add on a possible incentive for Hendriks, the Giants are known for the winning environment and culture compared to his previous squads like the White Sox and even the Oakland Athletics.
Despite losing Teoscar Hernandez in the offseason, the Toronto Blue Jays remain a legitimate force in the American League because of their deep batting order. The power and athleticism of this Blue Jays squad are a given, but it is the pitching that may have caused it to fail to advance to the ALDS last year.
Their opponent the Seattle Mariners had a stellar pitching staff, so one key addition is bolstering their bullpen with Liam Hendriks. Jordan Romano was an elite closer last season, but they can add an arm like Hendriks and slide Romano into a setup role. Adding more reliables to their bullpen is a minor change that will spell the difference in the postseason, so if they have an opening to add Hendriks even if it comes at a hefty price, they should not waste this opportunity.