Liam Hendriks has transformed himself into one of the very best relievers in baseball the past two years, featuring a 1.79 ERA, a 0.90 WHIP, a 13.1 K/9 rate and 39 saves in 99 appearances across 2019-20. Combine that with a six-season run of being relatively durable -- outside of a groin injury in 2018 -- and the hard-throwing closer will be highly sought after as the top relief arm on the open market.
Below is a list of the latest news and rumors surrounding the right-hander, who turns 32 in February.
Sources: Giants, Phillies among suitors for Hendriks
The Phillies and Giants are among the teams showing interest in Hendriks, sources told MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi.
Philadelphia had MLB’s highest bullpen ERA in 2020, recording a 7.06 mark. San Francisco was better, posting a 4.24 bullpen ERA, but the club had trouble finding a reliable closer. Trevor Gott, Tyler Rogers and Sam Coonrod combined for 10 of the team’s 13 saves but had a collective 7.12 ERA with seven blown saves.
According to Morosi, the Giants are also showing interest in free agents Brad Hand and Archie Bradley, and the Phillies “have inquired on virtually every notable free-agent reliever.”
Do Phillies need Hendriks more than Realmuto?
Nov. 22: The Phillies’ bullpen was a mess in 2020, posting the highest ERA (7.06) in MLB and contributing to the team’s 28-32 record. Philadelphia ended up missing the postseason by a single game and is now in danger of losing star catcher J.T. Realmuto to free agency.
Re-signing Realmuto is believed to be one of the team’s top priorities, but it can be argued that the team should place more emphasis on Hendriks.
Count MLB Network’s Ron Darling among those who think the Phillies should make the closer their No. 1 target this offseason.
“Liam Hendriks I think would really serve them well,” Darling said. “... He’s got a lot of grit and determination to go along with that talent, and I think he’d bring that fieriness to that Philadelphia bullpen. Push everyone down a notch and make them instantly better than they were all last year.”