With all of the talk about building upon the Cardinals starting rotation, another route they could decide to go is create an elite back end of their bullpen. The Chicago White Sox has discussed elite closer Liam Hendricks in trade talks this off-season, and would be a very interesting target for the Cardinals.
Hendricks, 33, has been an All-Star each of the last four seasons, posting a 2.26 ERA with 114 saves and 13.5 K/9 during that stretch, evening finishing top 10 in the Cy Young twice and 13th in MVP voting in 2020. Last season was a “down” year for the Sox’s closer, converting 37 of his 41 save opportunities with a 2.81 ERA.
The Cardinals already have Ryan Helsley, why add Hendricks? Think about that for a moment. If the Cardinals brought a lead into the 8th inning of any game, the game would practically be over for the opposing club. If you include how great Giovanny Gallegos has been as well, the Cardinals would just need to get through the first six innings of a game before their opponents chances of winning significantly decrease.
Hendricks is under contract for 2023 and has a $15 million club option for 2024, which is a bargain for the production he is having. Since the White Sox are looking to bounce back in 2023, they will want major league talent in return for Hendricks. The club has major question marks at second base, corner outfield, and designated hitter right now, which is exactly the surplus the Cardinals have available to them. Guys like Nolan Gorman, Tyler O’Neill, Juan Yepez, Alec Burleson, and Brendan Donovan could all be players that the White Sox are interested in.