Change might be a theme for the Cubs, but a Kyle Hendricks trade can’t happen.
If you had any doubts about change coming for the Chicago Cubs, they’re probably gone by this point. Major changes have already dominated headlines with Theo Epstein stepping down and the team non-tendering Kyle Schwarber and Albert Almora. Now, longtime Cubs play-by-play man Len Kasper is leaving for the radio job with the White Sox.
As Cubs fans, we knew it was coming but still feels weird to see these names not associated with the team anymore. While change is necessary, one move that simply cannot happen is a trade of Kyle Hendricks. Hendricks has been with the Cubs since 2012 coming over from the Rangers in a deal that sent Ryan Dempster to Texas – and is a key piece to the team’s future.
Chicago going to be looking for starting pitching this offseason with the departures of Jon Lester, Tyler Chatwood and Jose Quintana. The rotation, as of now, features Hendricks, Yu Darvish and Alec Mills. The Cubs have one of the better 1-2 punches in all of baseball with Hendricks and Darvish and a whole lot of question marks after that.
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Hendricks might be the most valuable player the Cubs have as of now all things being considered. He was one out away from leading the entire league in innings in 2020. He posted a 2.55 ERA while only allowing eight walks in 81 1/3 innings of work.
Hendricks has started some of the biggest games in Cubs history. As he was the starter for Game 6 of the NLCS where the club clinched a spot in the World Series. Then he was the starter of the biggest game in team history, Game 7 of the 2016 World Series. He was terrific in both outings. He has been able to avoid major arm injuries throughout his career via his low-stress delivery.
He signed an extension at the beginning of 2019 for four years, $55 million. It was the hope and goal of the team-friendly extension that the Cubs could start to extend some of the core group of players. That obviously hasn’t happened and with how this offseason has started, it might never take place.
If the front office tries to trade Hendricks, it’ll be hard to get back appropriate value. It could help address the financial woes that are consuming ownership but on the field, it would be a big drop-off in terms of consistency in the rotation.
Hendricks has been the rock of this starting rotation pretty much since 2016. You always know what you are going to get with him. He will be the guy to give you six or seven innings one or two runs and put you into a great spot to win. Whatever the team does this offseason they can not trade their most valuable player.