White Sox reliever Liam Hendriks Jun 4, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago White Sox relief pitcher Liam Hendriks (31) reacts after striking out Detroit Tigers third baseman Tyler Nevin (18) during the ninth inning at Guaranteed Rate Field. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago White Sox have declined closer Liam Hendriks’ 2024 option, sending the fan favorite into free agency this offseason.

The New York Post‘s Jon Heyman reported the White Sox still owe Hendriks $15 million, which will be deferred over time.

The hard-throwing reliever, a three-time All-Star, had two dominating seasons in Chicago after signing a three-year deal before the 2021 season. He led MLB with 38 saves that first year, with a 2.54 ERA. He followed that up with 37 saves and a 2.81 ERA in 2022.

Yet Hendriks has dealt with much-publicized health issues in the past year. He announced at the end of the 2022 season that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. After missing the start of this season, he announced the disease was in remission.

After making his season debut in late May, Hendriks made only five appearances before being shut down with elbow inflammation. The club announced in early August he had undergone Tommy John surgery.

Hendriks is expected to miss all of the 2024 season. He’ll turn 36 before the 2025 season, so he faces dim prospects in free agency given his age and health issues. Baseball is a business, and the White Sox did the rational thing in letting Hendriks go, but fans thought it was a tough way to say farewell to a popular player who has fallen on hard times.

[Jon Heyman]

About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.