White Sox finalize deal with Liam Hendriks

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

CHICAGO — Liam Hendriks saw the talent the Chicago White Sox had and knew he wanted to join the team. The move became official on Friday.

Chicago finalized a $54 million, three-year deal with the former Oakland Athletics’ closer, another big move as the White Sox set their sights on a championship run.

“At the end of the season, my wife and I sat down and made a list of teams,” Hendriks said. “On paper, the White Sox were the team that I wanted to go to.”

The White Sox landed the top international prospect, agreeing to a $2.05-million deal with prized Cuban outfielder Yoelqui Cespedes. They also avoided arbitration with their remaining eligible players, agreeing to one-year contracts with ace Lucas Giolito ($4.15 million) and starter Reynaldo Lopez ($2.1 million). Giolito earned $232,222 prorated of $627,000 last year and Lopez earned $224,074 prorated of $605,000.

Hendriks’ deal calls for a $1 million signing bonus and salaries of $11 million this season, $13 million in 2022 and $14 million in 2023. The White Sox hold a $15 million option for 2024 with a $15 million buyout that would be paid in 10 equal installments from 2024-33.

General manager Rick Hahn the buyout matching the 2024 salary “helped bridge the gap” between Hendriks’ desire for a four guaranteed years and the White Sox’s desire for three. Spreading out the buyout helps the team maintain payroll flexibility.

It’s a strategy chairman Jerry Reinsdorf has used in negotiating contracts for his other team, the NBA’s Chicago Bulls. And he suggested it again over the weekend.

“Jerry’s always mentioned that to us as a device that appealed to him in the right situation,” Hahn said.

Hendriks joins a team with a loaded lineup featuring AL MVP Jose Abreu and 2019 major league batting champion Tim Anderson. Giolito leads a solid rotation along with Dallas Keuchel and newcomer Lance Lynn. The White Sox also hired Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa, bringing him back to replace Rick Renteria, 34 years after they fired him.

Now, they have one of the game’s best closers to anchor a deep bullpen after more than a year-long pursuit. Hahn said the White Sox had tried to acquire Hendriks in a trade. Instead, they pulled out the checkbook when most teams aren’t spending big.

“I’ve got to give Jerry Reinsdorf a lot of credit, though, in that he’s given us the flexibility during these extraordinarily uncertain – and obviously difficult for a lot of people – times to have the economic wherewithal to aggressively pursue premium upgrades to a team that we feel is pretty good,” Hahn said. “Not everybody gets to be in that situation.”

Hendriks debuted with Minnesota in 2011 and spent the past five seasons with Oakland.

He made the All-Star team in a breakout season in 2019 and wound up with 25 saves and a 1.80 ERA. He dominated again last year, finishing second in the majors with 14 saves while posting a 1.78 ERA and averaging 96.5 mph with his fastball. He earned $1,962,963 in prorated pay from a $5.3 million salary.

Oakland won the AL West in making the playoffs for the third straight season. He was on the mound for the final out when the Athletics eliminated the White Sox in Game 3 of their wild-card series. They went on to lose to their division series against Houston, 3-1.

Hendriks gives the White Sox a workhorse at the back of the bullpen who can pitch multiple innings. He replaces free agent Alex Colome, who had 42 saves over the past two years.

Hendriks said he would like to pitch in 81 games and throw 85 to 90 innings. His career highs are 851/3 innings as a starter for Minnesota in 2012 and 75 appearances in 2019, when he also threw 85 innings.

“I’m ready for whatever, whether it be multiple innings, whether it be solo innings,” he said. “Whatever it needs to be, I’m capable of hopefully going out there and giving the team whatever they need. But yeah, I want the ball. I want to pitch everyday.”

The White Sox made the playoffs for the first time since 2008 and ended a string of seven losing seasons. They tied Cleveland for second place in the AL Central behind Minnesota at 35-25.

They’ve been busy since the final out, trying to push themselves closer to their first World Series championship since 2005.

Chicago acquired Lynn from Texas, adding a durable frontline starter to go with Giolito and Keuchel. The White Sox also signed outfielder Adam Eaton, who helped Washington win the World Series in 2019, for a second stint.

The 23-year-old Cespedes – the half-brother of two-time All-Star outfielder Yoenis Cespedes – is a natural center fielder who can play each outfield spot and hit to all fields. He defected from the Cuban national team while it was playing in the Can-Am League in June 2019 and spent six or seven months in the Bahamas. He moved to Florida after getting his visa.

He might not need much time to reach the majors.

“You never want to put a timetable on his arrival,” said Marco Paddy, a special assistant to the general manager. “But from a baseball standpoint, he’s very close. He’s advanced. He knows how to play the game.”

McCutchen’s sacrifice fly lifts Pirates to 5-4 win, extends Athletics’ road losing streak to 15

Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports
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PITTSBURGH – Andrew McCutchen’s tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the eighth inning lifted Pittsburgh to a 5-4 victory over Oakland on Monday night, extending the Pirates’ win streak to six games and sending the Athletics to their record-tying 15th consecutive road loss.

The 15 straight defeats away from home matches the Athletics’ record since they moved from Kansas City in 1968. Oakland set that mark in 1986.

The major league-worst Athletics (12-50) have lost five games in a row overall. They are on pace to finish the season exactly 100 games under .500 at 31-131.

“It’s tough,” Athletics manager Mark Kotsay said. “Tonight’s game, we didn’t play well enough to win the game. I don’t want to say we gave the game away but there were a lot of instances where we had a chance to capitalize on opportunities and didn’t do it.”

McCutchen also singled and drew three walks to go with two RBIs. The 2013 NL MVP now has 1,998 career hits.

With the score tied at 4, Ji Hwan Bae led off the decisive eighth inning with a single off Sam Moll (0-3) and advanced to third on Austin Hedges’ one-out single. McCutchen’s sac fly plated Bae.

“I was just trying to get the job done. I understand the situation there,” McCutchen said. “We just need to get the run. I was trying to bear down against a hard thrower and trying to get that run in as much as I can, and I was able to do it and have a good at-bat.”

Angel Perdomo (1-0) retired both hitters he faced. and Colin Holdeman pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his first career save. It was an eventful inning for Holderman as the first three batters reached base, but he struck out Carlos Perez with runners on the corners to end it.

“I began my career as a starting pitcher in the minor leagues but ever since I was switched to relief, this has been the goal, to get a save in the big leagues,” Holderman said.

Pittsburgh starter Johan Oviedo gave up three runs and four hits with five strikeouts and two walks.

Oakland left-hander JP Sears did not allow a hit until Mark Mathias’ leadoff single in the fifth but was unable to make it through the inning. Sears was charged with one run in 4 2/3 innings while allowing two hits, walking five and striking out six.

Sears has not allowed more than two runs in five consecutive starts. His nine no-decisions are the most in the major leagues.

Ryan Noda and Brent Rooker had two hits each for the Athletics.

The Athletics tied the score at 4-4 in the eighth inning on pinch-hitter Aledmys Diaz’s run-scoring double. Oakland left the bases loaded, though, when Nick Allen hit an inning-ending flyout.

Consecutive bases-loaded walks keyed a three-run sixth inning that put the Pirates 4-3. McCutchen and Bryan Reynolds each worked bases on balls off Shintaro Fujinami to tie the score at 3-all and pinch-hitter Jack Suwinski followed with a sacrifice fly.

The Athletics opened the scoring in the first inning when rookie Esteury Ruiz reached on catcher’s interference, stole his MLB-leading 30th base of the season and scored on Noda’s single. Seth Brown doubled in a run in the third and came home on Perez’s sacrifice fly to push Oakland’s lead to 3-0.

Connor Joe hit an RBI double for the Pirates in the fifth.

The Pirates drew 10 walks, their most in a game in nearly two years.

“We had a bunch of opportunities that we didn’t capitalize (on), but the thing I think I was most proud of is we got down and we didn’t rush to get back,” Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton said. “We were still patient.”


Athletics: LHP Kirby Snead (strained shoulder) is expected to pitch in the Arizona Complex League on Tuesday, which will be his first game action since spring training. … RHP Freddy Tarnok (strained shoulder) will throw a bullpen on Tuesday.


Pirates catching prospect Henry Davis was promoted to Triple-A Indianapolis from Double-A Altoona. In 41 games at Double-A this season, the 23-year-old hit .284 with 10 home runs and seven stolen bases.

“He was performing offensively at a level where we felt like he was more than ready to meet the challenges,” Pirates general manager Ben Cherington said. “He improved as an offensive player even since spring training, focusing on the things we were challenging him on. Defensively, he’s made strides too.”

Davis was the first overall selection in the 2021 amateur draft from the University of Louisville.


Athletics RHP James Kaprielian (0-6, 8.12 ERA) will make his first start in June after taking the loss in all four starts in May and face RHP Mitch Keller (7-1, 3.25). Keller has eight or more strikeouts in seven consecutive starts, the longest streak by a Pirates pitcher in the modern era (since 1901).