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Liam Hendriks Deserves Another Chance

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Plenty of Twins players will have 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 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.

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 followed him since he got called up. Next season, he will be 25 and there is a chance the Twins remove him from the 40-man roster. As Nick Nelson wrote here at Twins Daily, Hendriks might have run out of chances.

Minnesota needs some semblance of a starting rotation for next season and there aren't any sure bets on the free agent market. This could leave a window open for Hendriks to get one more chance in 2014. It might not be a good chance but there is at least an opportunity.

The Twins 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 would be 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 but 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 minor leagues.

Another reasons 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 to add to a relief pitching core is 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. Minnesota has already used him as a long-relief man at the end of 2013 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 that 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 come from his ineffective pitching.

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

Updated 09-25-2013 at 09:17 AM by Cody Christie

Categories
Twins , Roster and Payroll

Comments

  1. gil4's Avatar
    I completely agree.

    Anorthagen posted an article I really wish would have had more discussion: Who Stays and Who Goes - Blogs - Minnesota Twins News & Rumors Forum

    I made a list of 13 or 14 players I would remove from the 40-man before Hendriks:

    1. Fryer 2. Martis 3. Hermsen 4. Ramirez, Wilkin 5. Roenicke 6. Thomas, Clete 7. Roenicke 8. DeVries 9. Mastroianni 10. Bernier 11. Hernandez, Pedro 12. Pelfrey (FA - possibly re-sign, but probably not) 13. Colabello 14. maybe Parmelee

    That would get the roster down to 29 or 28 (currently at 42 with two on the 60-day). I'm not sure who will be added to prevent Rule 5 exposure, but some likely and possible candidates are Kepler, Polonco, Wimmers, Salcedo, Ibarra, Vargas. Vargas really faded in the 2nd half and is only in A+; is someone really going to take him in the MLB portion of Rule 5? I'm also not sure on Wimmers, although I guess we have to add him just to see if he can put it together now that he is (hopefully) healthy.

    I'd say we end up with 5 open slots. Are we going to really going to sign that many legitimate players? If we are and then we need Hendriks' slot, by all means take it (after considering Florimon or Escobar, who will hopefully be made redundant by one of those signings, and maybe Pressly.) But if we are going to do stupid things like sign Ron Mahay to a major league contract or trade for Jim Hoey, I'd prefer to hang on to Hendriks.
  2. Oldgoat_MN's Avatar
    Wow gil4 - you would hang on to Hendriks but release the MVP of AAA in Chris Colabello?

    I find all of your post interesting, but why give Hendriks a real chance and not Colabello?

    Also, I'm not certain of all the rules but they will probably only let you remove Roenicke from the 40-man once.

    Interesting list. And I certainly agree about Mahay and Hoey.
  3. beckmt's Avatar
    Agree with most. Pelfrey is a FA and would not count unless resigned. No reason to not keep Hendriks until they get some FA pitchers in here. Otherwise it is possible, but no likely they could need him. Do not know on Albers and Diamond, but they are in the same class for me. Rochester could have a very good AAAA rotation next year, they should not be in Minnesota.
  4. gil4's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Oldgoat_MN
    you would hang on to Hendriks but release the MVP of AAA in Chris Colabello?
    ...why give Hendriks a real chance and not Colabello?
    Colabello is on the dead center of my borderline. Hendriks is a notch or two to the keep side. Colabello is a great story, but he is also 29, is limited defensively, and has an OPS of .632 in 171 PAs. I know that's a small sample size, but it's a whole lot bigger sample than most 29 year olds would get if they hit like that.

    Hendriks is 24 and a pitcher. Young pitchers often struggle for a while before they find some success, although I will grant that they rarely struggle as much as he has. I still think he has the physical tools to get guys out and he could put together the mental part. He struggled some in his first try at AAA, too, but then he did well the second time. Now he has been jerked around a bit and has regressed some, but I wouldn't write him off yet.

    Neither one is a great bet for success, but if I had to pick one, it would be Hendriks. Also, Colabello might accept a minor league deal again, knowing that there still might be a path for him to get back if Parmelee keeps punting chances, or if Mauer goes back to catching, or if Mauer keps on having concussion symptoms. It's not like we have someone locked in there.
  5. gil4's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Oldgoat_MN
    I'm not certain of all the rules but they will probably only let you remove Roenicke from the 40-man once.
    I probably had Roenicke too far up the list - he probably should have been in the number 11 range. I'm not sure the rules either, but I think that's the Outright rule your talking about. By remove from the 40-man, I'm talking about allowing him to seek employment elsewhere if he chooses.

    I'm pretty sure he's on a 1-yr contract and I'm pretty sure the Twins aren't required to offer him another. I would bet that they could let him know he can have a minor league deal if he'd like to come back, and it wouldn't matter much if he chose not to accept it.
  6. gil4's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Oldgoat_MN
    Also, I'm not certain of all the rules but they will probably only let you remove Roenicke from the 40-man once.
    Oh, THAT's what you meant. I just caught that I had listed him twice. When I'm being stupid please tell me clearly so I don't double down on it.
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