It’s official: The White Sox have signed right-hander Liam Hendriks, widely regarded as the best relief pitcher in baseball over the last two seasons.
In a four-year, $54 million deal which was first reported Monday, Hendriks will receive $11 million in 2021, $13 million in 2022 and $14 million in 2023, with the Sox holding a $15 million option or $15 million buyout for 2024. If the option is declined, the buyout will be paid in 10 equal installments between 2024-33. The deal includes a $1 million signing bonus.
With the addition of Hendriks, who turns 32 next month, the Sox have what FanGraphs rates as the No. 2 bullpen in baseball behind the Yankees. Alex Colome was effective as a closer the last two seasons but Hendriks has a much higher strikeout rate, and the Sox have a good supply of late-inning depth leading up to Hendriks with left-handers Aaron Bummer, Garrett Crochet and Jace Fry and righties Evan Marshall, Codi Heuer and Matt Foster.
“With the acquisition of Liam, we are adding another premium talent to our core of group players,” general manager Rick Hahn said. “Liam is someone of outstanding character and makeup who will be an asset both on the field and in the clubhouse. He gives [manager] Tony [La Russa] and [pitching coach] Ethan [Katz] another weapon to make our bullpen even deeper and more versatile.”
Hendriks owns the lowest ERA in the major leagues since 2019 at 1.79. He will wear jersey No. 31.