Phillies: An argument against signing closer Liam Hendriks
Why the Phillies should not sign Liam Hendriks
If the Phillies sign Liam Hendriks and then he blows his elbow out in April (and let’s face it, knowing the Phillies bullpen that would probably happen), then the team is back to square one. So what should the Phillies do instead this offseason?
The Athletic’s Jim Bowden recently predicted the contracts for some of this offseason’s top free agents. He guessed that Hendriks will sign a three-year deal worth $42 million, which means $14 million per season. Other relievers Bowden wrote about in the piece included Brad Hand (2 years, $16 million), Shane Greene (2 years, $12 million), and Blake Treinen (2 years, $12 million).
Using Bowden’s predictions, the Phils could sign all three of those free agents for the same total contract as Hendriks. In terms of annual average value, they could sign two of them for what Hendriks would cost — or all three for just $6 million more.
None of those pitchers are as dominant as Hendriks, but they represent the safer option. With Hendriks, the Phillies could potentially have the best closer in baseball next season. But with a combination of Hand, Greene, and Treinen, the Phillies are much more likely to have a bullpen far better than the near all-time MLB-worst one they had in 2020.
The fact of the matter is that with a competent bullpen, the Phils could have made the playoffs this year. So if it were up to me, I’d be picking the safe option. I’d be saying no to Hendriks.