The extra ace the rotation still needs
If I were writing out a wish list for the Blue Jays this July, right near the top you’d see the name Kyle Hendricks.
In my mind, the 31 year old checks off pretty much all of the boxes I would expect the Jays to be looking for. He has a long history as an ace-calibre performer, he’s still arguably in his prime, and he has two more years of contract control after this year at just 14 million a piece, including a vesting option for 2024 at 16 million. He’s also an experienced and proven playoff performer.
Hendricks’ value took a bit of a hit this year because he started off very poorly in April. Since then he’s returned to his old ways though, posting a 2.67 ERA in May and following it up with a 2.97 mark in June and a nice start to his July as well.
The thing about Hendricks is that the Cubs may not be that motivated to move him. His contract is more than reasonable, and they may want to keep him around to help bridge the gap during their next rebuild, depending on how far they want to go with it. After they nearly gave Yu Darvish to the San Diego Padres over the winter though, my guess is they could be convinced with a strong enough offer.
Will the Blue Jays make a strong enough offer to get their attention? They have all the motivation in the world to do so, and plenty of strong prospects they could offer that should interest a franchise on the cusp of a rebuild. I can’t help but like the idea of a playoff rotation that has a right-hander like Hendricks to break up Hyun Jin Ryu and Robbie Ray, and that’s a look that could work for a few more seasons as well.