Will the Chicago Cubs trade Kyle Hendricks, Willson Contreras and Ian Happ?
By Bill Quinn
Chicago Cubs: Where will Kyle Hendricks pitch in 2022?
Crazy enough, Kyle Hendricks is now, without a doubt, the best pitcher from the Chicago Cubs’ World Series championship run. With now super-veterans Jon Lester and Jake Arrieta shells of their former selves and with different clubs, Hendricks is still going strong.
While the 2021 season has featured some ups and downs and continued problems with first innings and the long ball, Hendricks is without a doubt one of the best pitchers in the league and capable of throwing a “Maddux” any time he takes the mound. He’s also on a very short MLB list of lockdown, gutsy, clutch playoff performers you’d want taking the ball in October.
Sure, the 4.54 ERA is rather unseemly for the “Professor,” but the 14-6 record is certainly nothing to sneeze and shows that he’s put his team in a position to win more often than not and is still more than capable of throwing lots of good games. 13 games in a row going at least six innings with no more than four runs (and only one four-run game) showed his usual mettle during the meat of the schedule from May to July. Unfortunately, he’s had five games giving up more than six earned runs to go with the 19 quality starts this season.
So, where does this all put Hendricks in terms of the masterplan heading into 2022? Honestly, the state of affairs in baseball and with the Cubs front office plays a bigger role in what to do with Hendricks than pretty much anyone else in baseball. Controlled for another three years at under $15 million per season (club option in 2024), Hendricks is one of the cheapest 31-year-old front-end arms you could find. Other clubs know this, as well.
And, if a pro-player CBA and rough offseason pushes the Cubs to decide that 2023 or 2024 suits their timeline more than contending next season, it’s likely Hendricks would be moved if the Cubs can get what they want in return. While things may work in the Cubs favor and Hendricks might likely return, don’t be surprised if Hendricks is unloaded this offseason if the Cubs can pick up two quality prospects.