Indeed, no matter how heroic Liam Hendriks is, Friday’s roster moves are still a net gain when it comes to clubhouse character.
That’s because in spite of how much the White Sox lose by not having TJS-rehabilitating closer/team leader/community superhero Liam Hendriks around, shedding scumbag starting pitcher Mike Clevinger is an enormous net gain.
Before we get to the jagbag chauvanist, let’s talk about the loss of one of the few true Great Guys on the 2023 roster, Liam Hendriks, and how the White Sox managed to fumble the most no-brainer of player retentions (OK, maybe this isn’t quite failing to extend Carlos Rodón a qualifying offer in 2021, but you can decide for yourselves).
Hendriks will not pitch for at least the first half of 2024, in all likelihood. He may not pitch at all in 2024. Why pay him roughly $7.5 million to eat the postgame spread, right?
Well, Hendriks also might roar back and beg for a Charlotte rehab gig in, like, May. You may think, well, what in hell do the 100-loss (book it for 2024, folks) White Sox need with a closer ... but that’s hardly the point.
The ONLY reason to trim Hendriks — who stated publicly that he wanted to stay in Chicago to play out the final year of his deal — from the roster is to defer contract payments. Not SAVE money, overall, mind you — Liam gets his $15 million either way, in $1.5 million annuity bites through 2033, or doled out over six months during the 2024 season. We know The Chairman isn’t going to funnel the $13.5 million savings into the payroll, so this is 100% a pennypinching move.
And functionally, with regard to the 40-man roster, the decision is utter nonsense. If Hendriks was, say, ineffective and not hurt, there’s an argument to be made that no matter how swell a fella he is, there’s no room for him on a 26-man/40-man roster of a rebuilding team. But Hendriks will be on the 60-day IL until the second he is ready to be activated. And given there is a 0% chance the White Sox will go from having, like, 10 guys worthy of 40-man protection to a maxed-out roster where activating Hendriks will cost them some sort of Blue Chip Future Star, keeping Hendriks on the team (where he can rehab in White Sox facilities and continue to encourage and mentor his teammates, not to mention aid our Chicago community) is a no-brainer.
And that’s not even considering a likely scenario: Hendriks makes it back, rocks for a couple of weeks in Charlotte, and is ready to be flipped to a contender in July. Jerry could actually get out from under some of $15 million owed Hendriks under such circumstances (yes, Jerry, SAVE money), and/or score a solid prospect in trade. The Dodgers sent possible 2024 April rotation guy Nick Nastrini and AFL All-Star/fire arm Jordan Leasure to the White Sox for Lance Lynn’s gopher balling and The Joe Kelly Experience, and didn’t even ask for payroll relief. Sure, the Dodgers are weirdos who light money on fire every year, but don’t tell me for a second that Liam’s track record and (presumed) readiness in a Triple-A tuneup wouldn’t yield at least that much in a deal next July. A Hahnesque whiff, Getz.
OK, turning now to the police blotter, our [redacted] pitcher gambled that someone would give him at least a year/$8 million on the open market — a safe bet, at least for shitty teams who care not for clubhouse chemistry and basic human decency — by taking his payout of $4 million to become a free agent. (The White Sox have not yet managed to screw up this positive development by publicly indicating they would have picked up their end of the option, or that they are pursuing a long-term deal with this subhuman.)
Of course, there were no takers for [redacted] at the trade deadline, and knowing Jerry Reinsdorf was so eager to take the saved pennies gained by trimming off a third of the abuser’s deal to Coinstar he was willing to swap him away for an elotes cart, perhaps that [redacted] market is thinner than anticipated. If there was any justice in this world, Clevinger will be pitching next in Australia or the Netherlands ... or really, that new baseball league in Dubai would seem to fit right into the pitcher’s patriarchal mindset. Let’s just hope that GM Chris Getz has more of a moral compass than Rick Hahn or Ken Williams and funnels any memory of the dirtbag directly into the Sox Park sewage pipes, where it belongs.
Also, Trayce Thompson and Clint Frazier were outrighted, giving 29 teams who have passed up on them before another chance to pass.
The White Sox roster is now down to 36 players!