White Sox Sign Hendriks; Twins Fans Wait (Patiently?)
Image courtesy of Joe Nicholson, USA TODAYThe White Sox would certainly seem to be the favorite right now in the American League Central Division, if the season were to start today. While bringing back free agent outfielder Adam Eaton isn't terribly concerning, they also acquired RHP Lance Lynn in a trade with Texas last month. The addition of Hendriks improves the back-end of their bullpen.
Over the past few seasons in Oakland, the once top Twins pitching prospect became one of baseball's best relief pitchers. Earlier on Monday night, MLB Network revealed that he is the best reliever in the game.
We could probably write an article or two chronicling why the Twins DFAd Hendriks, with options remaining, after just over a season with the team and before even trying him in the bullpen, but that can be for another day, and another writer.
The White Sox went and got creative with their contract offer to Hendriks, specifically the fourth season which is a $15 million option with a $15 million buy out. Of course, if they buy out the deal, the $15 million is spread over several years.
Meanwhile, the Twins have seemingly presented as a team that is quite active, looking to fill several needs this offseason. There have been plenty of rumors, though not for awhile, about their search for a shortstop. But we are still waiting to see how that will play out.
We have heard that they are looking for a fourth starter to team with Jose Berrios, Kenta Maeda and Michael Pineda. Randy Dobnak warrants a shot at the fifth starter, so they need to add at least one starter, maybe more. There haven't been any real rumors associating the Twins with starters, even though some are believed to be available. And we are still waiting to see how that will play out.
The Twins lost Trevor May to the Mets in free agency. They non-tendered Matt Wisler and he signed with the Giants. Sergio Romo and Tyler Clippard are free agents that they could bring back. At this time, the Twins have signed only Hansel Robles. And Twins fans are waiting to see if more will be added, or if they will trust pitching coach Wes Johnson to turn someone like Brandon Waddell, Ian Gibaut, Derek Law, Glenn Sparkman, Luke Farrell, or some minor leaguers into this year's Wisler, or this year's Alcala.
And still we wait.
We have seen this before as Twins fans. And, there is no reason to believe that the Twins won't make some moves. They have made moves late in the offseason each year. Lynn and Logan Morrison a couple of years ago. The Kenta Maeda trade wasn't completed until last February. Marwin Gonzalez signed late.
So, there is no reason for Twins fans to panic. Cleveland is trading off pieces. Kansas City has added some pieces and has a lot of pitching coming. The Tigers have some serious pitching talent coming. But the White Sox are legit. Their offense was one of baseball's best in 2019, and they added Lynn - who has been one of the top 5 pitchers in the AL the past two seasons - and Hendriks - baseball's best relievers.
It's still mid-January, so there is plenty of time. But, for Twins fans, it is OK to start feeling a bit antsy. Presumably the White Sox are done with big-time moves. They aren't likely to go after George Springer or Trevor Bauer. But they have put themselves into serious postseason contender in 2021.
The Twins do not have to respond to these moves. They simply need to keep putting their 2021 roster together. They need to fill at least one rotation spot, and they need to add a couple of bullpen arms. And, clearly they would like to add a shortstop and probably a utility player. And there are a lot of options remaining, either in free agency or via trade.
So, while we start to get nervous and wonder when the Twins will make their moves, just remind yourself that it is WHEN and not IF. They will make moves. And when they do, we'll see how the Twins compare to the White Sox.
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