While matching Kirby Yates’ production over the past few seasons is hard to do, A’s closer Liam Hendriks has done just that. Angels fans know all too well just how good Hendriks is in the ninth inning. The right-hander posted a 1.80 ERA in 2019 and 1.78 ERA in 2020, amassing 39 saves in the process. He’s about as good as it gets amongst MLB closers these days and having him as a free agent is huge. Again, these are the type of guys the Angels need to go all-in for. The days of going after marginal upgrades and relying on the unreliable need to end. Hendriks would fully jumpstart a bullpen makeover that is long overdue.
The A’s are a small market team that simply could not shoulder the financial load of Hendriks’ contract which is genuinely pretty sad. However, given that the Angels are the division rivals of the A’s, they are in prime position to double benefit from a potential Hendriks addition.
Liam Hendriks surrendered an elite level 98th percentile xwOBA (expected weighted on base average) in 2020 which places him amongst the game’s elite. The reason for that is, well, Hendriks is firmly amongst the game’s elite.
Unlike Yates, Hendriks has no real injury history to speak of and will likely command a huge pay day. A four-year deal in the neighborhood of $72 million would not be the least bit surprising. The Angels would just have to bite the bullet.