The Chicago Cubs have joined the extension party around baseball with locking up one of their key starting pitchers.
Pitcher Kyle Hendricks and the Chicago Cubs have reached an extension agreement according to FOX and The Athletic MLB reporter Ken Rosenthal. Hendricks will receive a four-year, $55.5 million with a 2024 vesting option worth $16 million according to Rosenthal. In total, he will make $63 million guaranteed and can max out at $79.8 million with incentives. 2020 he will make $12 million and 2021-2023 the AAV will be $14 million. His 2024 vesting option is based on Cy Young voting finishes; if not met, it is a club option according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan.
This is a big move for the Cubs going forward. It has been discussed many times that this is something that needed to happen. Hendricks has been one of the most underrated starters in the National League going back to 2016 and is still under 30 years old. He will be under control through his mid-30s, which are his probably his remaining prime-seasons.
In 133 games since 2014, he sports a 3.07 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 3.52 FIP in 789 innings. He won the ERA title in 2016 (2.13) and has a 2.98 career postseason ERA.
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Moving forward with Hendricks in the rotation.
Not only has he been consistently good, but he has also for the most part been durable. Outside missing some time in 2017, he has made 30+ starts in three of the last four seasons. Probably helps he does not throw 95+ mph and has no crazy windups. Things can obviously happen, but right now he seems like a safe bet moving forward.
Some could argue that Hendricks will be their best starter in 2019. While on paper the rotation is outstanding, all the other members have battled inconsistency and/or injury the past several seasons. Even when he struggled in the first half last year, he turned around and dominated in the second half and finished the season with a 3.44 ERA and 1.15 WHIP.
It really should not be surprising that Hendricks was the first Cub to be extended. Being such an underrated pitcher and a guy who is durable, working an extension with him was probably not very hard. Time will tell if there are any other extensions, but this was a big one.