Cubs: Kyle Hendricks helped his trade value immensely with a strong June
No one is safe. Cubs fans should have learned that lesson after last July, but just in case they missed it the first time, the next month could prove to be a painful reminder with Ian Happ, Willson Contreras and Kyle Hendricks all potentially on the move (among others, as well).
Contreras and Happ have turned in All-Star quality production all season and are among the most valuable position players who could be dealt ahead of the Aug. 2 trade deadline. Hendricks, though, has been an altogether different story, having to scratch and claw his way back to respectability after a slow start to the year.
In the season’s first month, the veteran right-hander made five starts, working to a 5.47 ERA and 1.500 WHIP. From there, he improved to a 4.97 ERA and 1.207 WHIP in five May outings before really starting to find his form in June – capped by Thursday’s solid outing against the Reds at Wrigley Field.
He pitched five innings and allowed three or fewer earned runs in all but one of his June appearances. Late in the month, he really started to command his curve better, which helped keep hitters’ timing off. After all, with his lack of velocity, it’s all about making sure guys are off-balance.
Cubs could look to recoup value for a surging Kyle Hendricks in July
In June, Hendricks finished with a 3.90 ERA and 1.193 WHIP in five starts. Opponents managed a .732 OPS against him, the lowest we’ve seen so far this season in a single month. Why are we talking about this gradual improvement from the longtime Cubs hurler? Because with a ton of contenders looking for rotation upgrades, Hendricks’ recent trend of strong starts is certainly catching the eye of executives around the league.
Hendricks has one year left on the extension he signed with Chicago in the spring of 2019 – making $14 million in both 2022 and 2023. Given his exhaustive resume of coming up with big performances in high-pressure moments, you can bet a team with World Series aspirations would love to add him to the fold.
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As for Hendricks, he recently spoke to NBC Sports Chicago, making it clear he’s happy on the North Side – but is well aware of the possibility his time with the Cubs could be drawing to a close.
"“I love everything about Chicago, man,” he said. “It would take me some time to look back on everything that had happened and process all that … I’ll just have to see what comes in these next few weeks and see where we end up.”"