Due to a shallow free agenct class and diminished hopes of acquiring Luis Castillo, Yankees fans everywhere are beginning to worry. And for good reason.
There’s no question that the Yankees need to bolster their starting rotation. After Gerrit Cole, the rotation is still full of uncertainty. Newly signed Corey Kluber hasn’t pitched a full season in nearly two years. Luis Severino is still recovering from Tommy John surgery and there’s no guarantee on how his 2021 return will go. Domingo German returns from suspension and after his winter ball performance, his 2021 campaign is far from a lock. Jordan Montgomery, Deivi Garcia and Clarke Schmidt all offer promising futures, but how effective they can be at a major league level this season, is also in question.
Solidifying your rotation might not be necessary to win the AL East, but it is absolutely necessary to win the World Series. So why not plug this hole with someone who is RELIABLE?
That player is Kyle Hendricks.
If the Yankees fully intend to stay under the luxury tax, money will have to be dumped elsewhere in order to make this possible. But this move is absolutely necessary if you’re trying to win a World Series.
Hendricks gives you another reliable arm. In his seven-year career, Hendricks has only missed a handful of starts. He has never had an ERA above 4 and almost always gives you 30+ starts in a full season. But what stands out to me is how grossly underrated this guy is.
Here’s how Hendricks stats rank among all qualified pitchers 2015-2020:
3.18 ERA (12th)
19.4 WAR (11th)
965 IP (9th)
21.2 Soft contact % (6th)
86.5 MPH Exit Velo (3rd)
In those rankings, his name sits next to pitchers like Jacob deGrom, Max Scherzer and Clayton Kershaw. Is he that caliber pitcher? No. But I firmly believe that if he was a power pitcher, he wouldn’t be as underrated.
Although extremely effective, Hendricks’ four seam fastball averaged only 87.4 MPH in 2020. This does not mean anything to me. His performance and pure effectiveness should be evaluated first before we even look at his pure stuff. Because after all, mixing speeds and having pin point command has made Hendricks very good over the last seven years.
I think adding a pitcher with his pitching style can be viewed as a pro. In a potential 2021 playoff rotation, I imagine two out of the four starters to be Cole and Severino. Both are power pitchers with high strikeout rates and electric fastballs. Having a pitcher like Hendricks in the rotation can provide some variance and could be a very different look for opposing offenses.
Even if you don’t view his pitching style as a pro, his postseason numbers are impressive. Hendricks has a 3.12 ERA over 57.2 postseason innings. Not only is that a great ERA, but that is a good amount of postseason experience for someone who just turned 31.
At 31 years old, I anticipate Hendricks to be finishing his prime within the next couple of years. The fact that he doesn’t rely on pure velocity and movement, supports the idea that he won’t fall off the face of the earth when he does leave his prime. As long as he continues to have command and mix speeds, he’ll be effective. This is one of the reasons why I view this potential trade as safe. He’s under a team friendly contract for his age 31-34 age seasons and after having one of the best seasons of his career in 2020, there are no signs of him slowing down any time soon.
WAR: 1.9 WAR (21st) *Gerrit Cole ranked 15th with a 2.2 WAR*
Paying Hendricks $14 million a year to put up stats like that is obviously worth it. If Cashman can give J.A. Happ $17 million, we should be able to swing a trade and take on an additional $14 million for a much better pitcher.
The guy is reliable, consistent, and effective. He goes deep into games and is affordable. He gives you exactly what you need. Enough of the question marks, make it happen Cashman.
Do you want Hendricks? Who would you be willing to give up for him? Let me know what you think on Twitter @Nolan_DeMelfi