This Kyle Hendricks contract prediction is outrageous for the Chicago Cubs

There has been a belief that the Chicago Cubs may sign Kyle Hendricks to a contract extension rather than pick up his $16MM option for the 2024 season.
Sep 16, 2023; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks (28) leaves the
Sep 16, 2023; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks (28) leaves the / Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
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The Chicago Cubs have until Monday to decide whether or not they will exercise starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks' option for the 2024 season but it would seem likely that the team will take this weekend to attempt to sign Hendricks to a contract extension.

When talking about a potential Hendricks' extension, it's important that the goal is not to extend Hendricks for the long-term but rather lower his salary for the 2024 season. That would be the reason why one contract projection that an MLB insider provided Jon Heyman of the New York Post is outrageous.

"13. Kyle Hendricks: Cubs can pick up $16M option for pitching savant. Expert 1: $66M, 3 years. Expert 2: $30M/2. Me: Cubs pick up."

Jon Heyman via The New York Post

One thing that the Cubs will not be doing this off-season is signing Hendricks to a three-year deal with a $22MM AAV. Hendricks posted a 3.74 ERA in 137 innings pitched but at 34 years old once the 2024 season starts and limitations in terms of how often he can face a team's lineup, he is not the type of pitcher, in his current form, that you would pay $22MM a season.

For the second expert, there would be value for the Cubs with a two-year deal worth $30MM. That would put the AAV at $15MM and achieve the goal of saving some money for the 2024 season. To that end, saving money is not meant as a way to say that the Cubs will be cheap this off-season but rather save money on Hendricks' AAV so that they can use it elsewhere.

It would seem that the most likely outcome will be that the Cubs pick up the $16MM option on Monday. Even for the pitcher that Hendricks is at this point in his career, $16MM is ideal value.

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