A theory exists in behavioral economics known as the sunk cost fallacy. Sunk cost fallacy is when an entity continues a behavior resulting from previously invested resources. In the case of the Chicago Cubs, this theory has begun to apply to Kyle Hendricks over the past couple of seasons.
When the Cubs extended Hendricks on a four-year, $55.5 million contract, he was in the midst of a 2.86 ERA over his previous three seasons and had contributed a 10.1 WAR during that stretch. Hendricks was also in his age-29 season, and there was no sign of the right-hander slowing down.Hendricks even took the pandemic-shortened season in stride, posting a 2.88 ERA over 12 starts.
Unfortunately, Hendricks’ performance has taken a turn for the worse as his strikeout rate has dropped while his walk rate rose dramatically. His 4.77 ERA last season marked a career-high, and home runs became a major bugaboo. This year Hendricks has come entirely off the rails, and that means it’s time for “The Professor” to get right because he’s not going anywhere anytime soon.
Cubs: The ‘window’ is now officially closed to trade Kyle Hendricks
Teams have difficulty when it comes to juggling their trade window with players. Time and time again, clubs will miss their chance to sell high on a guy to see that window close. Unfortunately for the Cubs, that window is now closed — at least with any hope of recouping any real value for Hendricks.
It seemed last season Hendricks would join the core in finding a new home at the trade deadline. Surprisingly this did not happen. Now, well into his extension, the Cubs are deep in their investment and will seemingly need to ride the waves of the storm and hope Hendricks regains form, and soon.
Through his first 11 starts, Hendricks sits at 2-5 with a career-worst 5.22 ERA. He’s given up at least one home run in five of those starts and has five or more strikeouts in just three starts. In short order, Hendricks has been bad. It would be one thing if his starts were coming against powerhouse offenses. However, it has not necessarily been the case.
Four of the worst starts for Hendricks have come against teams currently in the bottom ten in wRC+. Two of those teams, the Pirates and Diamondbacks, have gotten to Hendricks in one start, while Hendricks has shut them down in his other starts. However, his 5.06 ERA in two starts versus Pittsburgh is a huge red flag.
Hendricks’ three-game stretch in May facing off against the White Sox, Padres and Diamondbacks produced a strong 2.25 ERA, and things felt back to normal. Then again, since that stretch, Hendricks has a 9.00 ERA over his last three starts and has given up five home runs in those games.
Want your voice heard? Join the Cubbies Crib team!
During his last start, things rebounded slightly. It was his third time facing the Brewers this season, and Hendricks did not allow a home run and only allowed three runs in five innings. Unfortunately, his next start will most likely come against the Yankees on the road, so things may be short-lived. Regardless, something needs to change for Hendricks because the Cubs are too deep in the well for him to be on his way out anytime soon.