Mets Rumors: Liam Hendriks could be the next big bullpen addition
The latest New York Mets rumors suggest the team is expressing sincere interest in relief pitcher Liam Hendriks.
In the latest round of New York Mets rumors, the team is looking to not only snag arguably the best hitter (George Springer) and pitcher (Trevor Bauer) in free agency.
A report from SNY.tv reveals that the Mets have interest in signing Liam Hendriks, who most recently pitched for the Oakland Athletics. Hendriks is the latest of the major names on the free agent market that have been linked to the Mets, who are aggressively trying to return to the postseason. Under new owner Steve Cohen, they are showing a yearning willingness to spend money despite the financial losses the league took during the truncated 2020 season.
It was with the Athletics that Hendriks established himself as one of the most dominant relief pitchers in all of baseball. In 2019, Hendriks compiled a 1.80 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP. He continued to thrive during the abbreviated 2020 season, compiling a 1.76 ERA and a 0.67 WHIP. What made him effective as a reliever was his mid-90’s fastball and a wicked slider that fooled many hitters, causing them to routinely chase pitches out of the strike zone.
Hendriks’s success originates from his profound and exceptional ability to strike hitters out, a characteristic most teams value in their bullpen arms. Consider his strikeout rates for the past two years. According to Yahoo! Sports, Hendriks struck out over 37% of the hitters he faced in 2019 and 40% of hitters he faced in 2020. This high strikeout mark put Hendriks in elite company in Major League Baseball as only 3% of all MLB pitchers had a strikeout rate that high.
He has also served as an opener for the Athletics on occasion, including in the postseason. If the Mets fail to field a starting rotation of five solid pitchers, the Mets could also conceivably use Hendriks as an opener as well, utilizing him to get the top of the order out before handing the ball off to a long reliever or fringe starter, such as Seth Lugo, for example.
It is no surprise, therefore, that the recent Mets rumors have Hendriks linked to the team. As a result of the past two years, Hendriks is considered one of the best relievers in the game. Because of his proven track record, he won’t come cheap. However, provided that the Mets continue to signal their interest in spending money, Hendriks will continue to be a name to watch, especially if the Mets miss out on the big-name free agents like Springer and Bauer.
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Hendriks may not be the left-handed reliever the Mets need, but he is the reliever any team would like to have.