The Athletics announced Monday that right-hander Liam Hendriks has cleared waivers after being designated for assignment last week. He’s been sent outright to Triple-A Nashville. The 29-year-old Hendriks technically has enough MLB service time to reject the assignment in favor of free agency (three-plus years), but because he’s still shy of five years of service, doing so would mean forfeiting the remainder of this season’s $1.9MM salary. Assuming he accepts, he’ll be eligible to elect free agency at season’s end unless he’s first added back to the 40-man roster.
Hendriks was, at one point, a promising prospect in the Twins’ minor league system but didn’t pan out in Minnesota or in a brief stint with the Royals. The Blue Jays picked him up off waivers, and while he struggled in his first run with the Jays, he turned in a dominant 2015 season out of the Toronto bullpen. The Jays flipped him to the A’s that offseason in exchange for Jesse Chavez — and Hendriks went on to enjoy another pair of solid seasons in the Oakland ’pen.
Prior to the 2018 season, Hendriks had turned in a three-year run with a 3.63 ERA and an outstanding 220-to-48 K/BB ratio through 193 1/3 innings between the Jays and the A’s. He missed more than a month with a strained groin earlier this year, though, and he’s posted an unsightly 7.36 ERA with 12 strikeouts against seven walks in 11 innings when healthy. Hendriks didn’t receive much of a leash when returning from the DL, and he was tagged for four runs in his final appearance before being designated. He’ll now look to rebuild his stock in Nashville with the hope of earning another look in manager Bob Melvin’s bullpen later this season.