The Cubs have been without Kyle Hendricks for a week, as the right-hander landed on the injured list with a shoulder strain last Wednesday. While the team didn’t provide any timetable for his recovery at the time, it seems he’ll be out for an extended stretch.
Manager David Ross told reporters this evening that Hendricks will be shut down from throwing for at least two-to-three weeks (link via Meghan Montemurro of the Chicago Tribune). He won’t require surgery, but the shutdown portends a lengthy recovery stint. Given the timeline Ross provided, Hendricks seems unlikely to pick up a ball until around the start of next month.
He’ll surely need multiple weeks thereafter to build up throwing before getting back on the Wrigley Field mound. Hendricks will presumably have to start his progression from flat ground before beginning bullpen sessions and eventually moving towards a minor league rehab stint. It seems likely he’ll be out until mid-late August even in a best-case scenarios.
The shutdown virtually closes the books on whatever small chance there may have been that Hendricks could change hands this summer. Players on the injured list are eligible to be dealt, but it’s hard to envision any team taking a shot on the 32-year-old before the August 2 trade deadline. At that point, he’ll be at the very early stages of a throwing program if he’s begun one at all. He wouldn’t be of immediate assistance to any rotation-needy contenders.
Hendricks was a longshot trade candidate even prior to the injury, as he’d not been having a great season. He’s taken the ball 16 times and given the Cubs 84 1/3 innings, but he owns a career-worst 4.80 ERA. Hendricks had plenty of success in prior years, compensating for subpar velocity and swinging strike numbers with stellar control and high ground-ball rates. He’s seen his grounder numbers decline over the past couple seasons, and that currently sits at a career-low 36.2%. Unsurprisingly, Hendricks has been increasingly prone to home runs as he’s surrendered more airborne contact.
He remains an excellent strike-thrower and has posted serviceable back-of-the-rotation numbers, but it wasn’t likely he’d have a ton of trade value given his contract. Hendricks is playing this season on a $14MM salary, and he’ll make the same amount next year. That’ll be the final guaranteed season of his deal, though he’s due a $1.5MM buyout on a 2024 option.