Cubs: Ranking the team’s least likely big-name trade candidates

Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports /
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Chicago Cubs / Kyle Hendricks
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Cubs: Kyle Hendricks is one of the game’s most underrated arms

I’m not sure how, but Kyle Hendricks continues to fly under the radar. He kicked the season off with a dominant showing as the team’s Opening Day starter – and never looked back.

He made a dozen starts this year, posting a 2.88 ERA – his lowest since he won the league’s ERA crown back in 2016. His control was on full display, evidenced by an unthinkable 8.00 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 81 1/3 innings of work. While Yu Darvish garnered the attention and captured headlines, Hendricks did what he always does: quietly play second fiddle without complaint.

The Cubs locked up the right-hander with a four-year, $55 million deal last spring that includes an option that could keep him in Chicago through 2024, his age-34 season. That’s an incredibly team-friendly deal for a pitcher of this caliber and you can bet the front office is well aware of that fact.

Given he relies on intelligence and control rather than velocity, you hope Hendricks will age more gracefully than guys who throw harder and turn more heads. At the end of the day, you’re going to need pitching and keeping someone like Hendricks in tow just makes too much sense to even kick the tires on a trade. Especially knowing how consistently undervalued he is by other clubs.