MLB Free Agency Rumors: Dodgers Among Teams Pursuing Liam Hendriks

With the holidays and New Year just around the corner, the MLB offseason should begin to pick up soon as none of the big-name free agents have found new homes yet.

One of the teams that should be active in the free-agent and trade markets is the Los Angeles Dodgers. Although they are coming off their first World Series win since 1988, they do have holes on the roster that need to be addressed.

Perhaps the Dodgers’ biggest offseason need is bullpen help. With Blake Treinen, Pedro Baez and Alex Wood all hitting free agency, L.A. has three relievers that pitched a lot in October to either re-sign or replace.

Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman has already let it be known that he would like some varying looks out of the bullpen, and one pitcher that would provide that is hard-throwing righty Liam Hendriks, who was the Oakland Athletics’ closer the last two seasons.

Hendriks is the best reliever available on the free-agent market and according to Jeff Passan of ESPN, the Dodgers are among the teams to have shown interest:

The Chicago White Sox have been linked to Hendriks as his primary suitor, but a number of other teams in search of a closer — or simply more bullpen help — are prepared to pounce. Among the teams that have pursued the 32-year-old: the Los Angeles Dodgers, Houston Astros, New York Mets and Toronto Blue Jays.

The Dodgers typically haven’t spent big on relievers in free agency, but if anyone is worth it, it may be Hendriks. The 31-year-old is coming off back-to-back dominant seasons for Oakland and given his closer experience, he can definitely step into that role if Kenley Jansen falters.

In 75 games last year, Henriks pitched to a 1.80 ERA, 1.87 FIP and 0.97 WHIP with 124 strikeouts and 21 walks in 85 innings. He then followed that up in 2020 with a 1.78 ERA, 1.14 FIP and 0.67 WHIP while striking out 37 and walking just three in 25.1 innings.

Given Hendriks’ dominance, he will likely command at least a three-year contract in free agency, so it will be interesting to see how high Friedman is willing to go for his services.

Dodgers make Minor League signings to address bullpen depth

Although the Dodgers have not yet made any big signings, Friedman has already begun addressing the team’s bullpen depth with some Minor League signings, including familiar faces like Brandon Morrow, Brock Stewart and Jimmy Nelson.

L.A. also acquired Corey Knebel in a trade with the Milwaukee Brewers, so the bullpen should present a lot of upside in 2021 even if they don’t add a high-end arm like Hendriks.

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