Finally, the Jays should consider having a reunion with reliever Liam Hendriks. After all, he had been one of the league’s most dominant relievers in the past four seasons prior to 2023. He had maintained an exceptional strikeout rate of greater than 13 batters per nine innings, along with an ERA under three during that stretch, including an ERA under two in the 2019 and 2020 MLB seasons. Not only that, he had also become one of the best closers in the game in the process.
Hendriks actually had two previous stints with the Jays already, back in 2014 and 2015. It was in 2015 where he played a more prominent role for the ballclub, sporting a perfect 5-0 record with a 2.92 ERA and 1.08 WHIP. So he has previously shown he could get the job done for the ballclub when called upon.
Hendriks had a tough 2023 as he began the year battling Stage 4 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma before finally becoming cancer-free in April. He made his official comeback in late May with the Chicago White Sox, but managed to only get into five games of action before eventually being sidelined for the rest of the season with an elbow injury.
This could be an out-of-the-ballpark move, similar to the one when the Jays inked Chad Green this past offseason, because Hendriks will likely be out for most, if not all, of 2024 as he underwent Tommy John surgery on his elbow in August of this year. However, the Jays may be able to get Hendriks at a good value deal since many teams won’t risk giving him a huge deal as a result of his surgery and the amount of time he will be missing. So far it has worked extremely well with Green, as the Jays recently exercised his two-year option. So perhaps they can get something done similarly with Hendriks as well and stash him for the future with hopes he can make key contributions to the ballclub once again down the road.