Chicago Cubs extend Kyle Hendricks; ranking team’s top leadoff hitters

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs extended right-hander Kyle Hendricks on Tuesday, giving the starting rotation a degree of long-term stability heading into the 2019 season.

For perhaps the first time this offseason, the Chicago Cubs did something that fans would classify as ‘positive’. In a winter dominated by less-than-savory news bits and headlines, Theo Epstein flipped the script (at least to a degree) in the final days of spring in an impromptu news conference in Arizona.

As the media awaited manager Joe Maddon‘s session with the media, Theo Epstein came out with Kyle Hendricks. The Cubs president of baseball operations announced a four-year, $55.5 million extension for the right-hander and former Cy Young finalist with a $16 million vesting option for 2024.

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Hendricks, coming off a career-high 199 innings pitched last year, seems a likely candidate to age well given his makeup. He’s never been – and never will be – a guy who relies on velocity to get outs, instead mixing and matching his pitches to keep hitters off balance. I find it hard to believe we’ll ever see him put together a run as he did in 2016 when he took home baseball’s ERA title, but he’s still one of the more reliable arms in the National League.

We’re now just one day from Opening Day in Texas, when veteran lefty Jon Lester takes the ball against the Texas Rangers. Lester struggled badly this spring, pitching to a 1.890 WHIP and .348 opponent batting average in five Cactus League outings. He’ll look to shake that off and help the Cubs get off to a strong start in 2019 on Thursday afternoon.

Here at Cubbies Crib, we also looked at the best leadoff hitters in Chicago Cubs history. Really, since Dexter Fowler departed, the team has lacked a de facto table setter – something that has not gone unnoticed by fans and followers alike.

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