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Liam Hendriks Deserves Another Chance

Twins players will have will have plenty of things to reflect on this coming offseason. When a team has multiple 90-loss seasons in a row, changes are likely and some of those situations have started to play themselves out. Minnesota needs pitchers to stand out in the final games of the season as the team tries to figure out the future.

Attached Image: Hendricks_Liam.jpg Liam Hendriks is one player on shaky ground for 2014. The team rushed him to the big leagues as a 22-year old and struggles have followed him since. Next season, he will be 25 and there is a chance the Twins remove him from the 40-man rosters, as Nick Nelson wrote here at Twins Daily, Hendriks might have run out of chances.

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Originally posted at
http://www.NoDakTwinsFan.com
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Minnesota needs some semblance of a starting rotation for next season and there aren't any sure bets on the free agent market. This might leave a window open for Hendriks to get one more shot in 2014. It might not be a good chance but it could be a chance.

The Twins have jerked him back and forth between the minor leagues and the big leagues over the past three seasons. With the Twins, he has never started more than eight games consecutively and that was at the end of last season. It is a challenge to figure out big league hitters when a pitcher isn't given the opportunity to start consecutive games. His pitches are already bottom-of-the- rotation material and moving him up and down hasn't helped.

In 2011 at Double-A and 2012 at Triple-A, Hendriks was a very effective pitcher. He posted ERAs of under 3.00 and he averaged over six innings per appearance. Strikeouts have never been his specialty; he is most effective when he limits walks and induces ground balls. This hasn't happened at the major league level but he has shown these skills in the minors.

Another reason to keep Hendriks around is the fact he won't be arbitration- eligible until the 2016 season and he can't reach free agency until 2019. This means he will be a relatively cheap player on the roster and the Twins can use the money they save on him to spend on other pieces of the roster.

Even in their recent down years, the Twins have found effective relief pitchers in various ways. One way has been to shift starters into the bullpen. Minnesota has seen successful transitions from Glen Perkins and Anthony Swarzak and this could be a path to follow with Hendriks. At the end of 2013 Minnesota has already used him as a long-relief man and it could be a sign of things to come.

Is Hendriks going to be a key piece to the potential Twins turnaround? Likely not but it still doesn't mean it is time to give up on him. It would have been nice for Hendriks to get more opportunities at the big league level. The team has never given him a consistent shot at sticking in the rotation and most of this has been because of his ineffective pitching.

Hendriks might not be the answer to all the Twins pitching problems but he deserves another chance to make it work in some kind of role for 2014.


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