Kyle Hendricks is likely in the twilight of his Cubs tenure

Cubs fans should savor every minute that Kyle Hendricks takes the mound this year
Los Angeles Dodgers v Chicago Cubs
Los Angeles Dodgers v Chicago Cubs / Michael Reaves/GettyImages

Chicago Cubs fans should be prepared for this to be the final year of Kyle Hendricks' run with the team, as his contract is set to expire at the end of the 2024 season.

Amidst a bad month of April so far, where Hendricks has a 12.08 ERA in his first three starts, the writing is on the wall for the 34-year-old. It's not as if the team will designate him for assignment tomorrow because it's still way too early to do anything as drastic as sending Hendricks packing. But a bullpen demotion is not out of the question, especially with the young talent that is starting to make up the majority of the team's pitching staff.

One of the realities of this game is that there are always younger players ready to come up and snatch a roster spot if given an opportunity. And the Cubs have plenty of candidates for this in the starting pitching department. Jordan Wicks and Javier Assad are already in the starting rotation and making convincing arguments that they should remain there long-term. Not to mention rookie Ben Brown, who received high praise from Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez after his dominant outing against the San Diego Padres on Tuesday night.

Brown probably still needs time before he remains on the active roster permanently, as his current stint in the majors will likely come to an end when Jameson Taillon returns from his injury. But he will continue to gun for a rotation spot moving forward along with either Wicks or Assad, whoever moves to the bullpen when Justin Steele recovers from his injury. This isn't even taking into account Cade Horton, who is regarded as one of the best starting pitching prospects in baseball right now. Or potential free agents that the team could target next winter. This is all a long way of saying (and it pains me to say this) that there are a lot of better options aside from Kyle Hendricks after 2024.

The end of his Cubs' career is likely approaching for Kyle Hendricks.

Hendricks is making $16.5 million this year, and it will be hard to justify a new contract with a similar average annual value with all the pitching depth that will be even more capable of taking up the mantle a year from now. Unless he's willing to take a pay cut and/or move to the bullpen, I don't think the Cubs' front office would give Hendricks a sizable new contract. And with all the pitching injuries plaguing baseball, Hendricks could definitely find a team to start for out there on the market.

Until he reaches free agency, Cubs fans should keep in mind that Hendricks typically struggles early in the year before settling in later in the summer. As a large part of the World Series-winning team, Cubs fans may want to relish what time Hendricks has left with the team because his future with the team as a player is murky at best.