In a year full of twists and turns, Chicago White Sox closer Liam Hendriks is facing an uphill battle. After undergoing Tommy John surgery, which will likely sideline him for most, if not all, of the 2024 season, Hendriks remains hopeful of his return to the South Side.
For fans catching a limo service to O’Hare airport or using a local car service in Chicago, the news about Hendriks has been a common topic of conversation. The Australian pitcher has become a central figure for the team, and his potential absence next season leaves a void.
In a candid discussion on the “White Sox Talk” podcast with NBC Sports Chicago’s Chuck Garfien, Hendriks opened up about the mutual option on his contract for 2024, acknowledging the odds given his current health status.
“I’m hoping they pick it up. I mean, it’s a longshot, but look, it is what it is, and I hope to be here,” he expressed.
Diving deeper into the contract specifics, Hendriks mentioned that regardless of his play status in 2024, he would receive his monetary dues. If the White Sox decide to take up the option, he would be handed the $15 million for the 2024 campaign straight away. Conversely, if the team declines, the amount would be divided and paid over a decade.
However, the money isn’t the primary concern for Hendriks. He emphasized his desire to continue being a part of the White Sox franchise, “Either way, I get paid, but I want to be part of this organization,” he stressed.
He was candid about the usual practices in the sports world, acknowledging that paying an injured player isn’t the typical modus operandi of most general managers. Nevertheless, Hendriks believes he brings more to the table than just his skills on the mound. “Even when I’m not playing, I can be a positive influence on some of these guys,” he added.
2023 has indeed been a roller-coaster for Hendriks. From battling non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma at the start of the year to a torn UCL diagnosis leading to his recent surgery, it’s been a whirlwind. Those heading to games via coach bus rental services would recall his five appearances with the White Sox, where he had a 5.40 ERA over five innings.
As the White Sox move forward, fans and the organization alike will be keeping an eye on Hendriks’ recovery and the decisions surrounding his 2024 status.