Veteran Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks is a little more than a month behind the rest of the pitchers in camp, and is hoping to make minor league rehab starts sometime in May, according to Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic.
Hendricks stepped on a mound for the first time since a July 5 injury ended his season on Friday, tossing around ten pitches in a bullpen session. That was slightly ahead of schedule, as Hendricks hadn’t initially been slated to return to a mound until March 1 as he recovers from a capsular tear in his shoulder. That he’s one week ahead of his schedule is promising, but he’s still significantly behind the rest of the pitchers in camp, and that means the Cubs look set to be without Hendricks for a number of weeks to begin the season.
A return to rehab stints in May would put seemingly put Hendricks in a position to rejoin Chicago’s rotation sometime later in that month or in early June. The Cubs look reasonably well positioned to absorb the absence of Hendricks early in the season, with Marcus Stroman, Jameson Taillon, Justin Steele and Drew Smyly holding down four of the spots. It should mean Adrian Sampson will get the opportunity to build off his impressive 19-start run in 2022 and round out the Cubs’ opening day rotation. Sampson pitched to a 3.11 ERA last season, and has a 3.03 ERA over 139 2/3 innings for the Cubs between 2021-22. His previous 153 innings for Seattle and Texas between 2016-19 had resulted in a 5.71 ERA.
Hendricks will surely land on the injured list to start the season, but his progress over the next month should determine whether that’s a trip to the 60-day IL or not. Teams can put players on the 60-day IL again now, which would free up a spot on the 40-man roster, but the 60-day clock would only begin from March 30 (opening day), so a team would want to be certain a player is going to be unavailable until at least the end of May before making that move.
Hendricks is entering the final guaranteed year of his contract and is owed $14MM in 2023. There’s also a vesting $16MM option for 2024 that comes with a $1.5MM buyout. Hendricks, 33, has seen a bit of decline in recent years, working to a 4.78 ERA over 48 starts over the past two seasons. That came on the heels of a number of quality campaigns for the Cubs, as Hendricks owned a 3.12 ERA over 174 previous starts between 2014-20.
I’d think the 60-day choice would be a fairly easy one if you didn’t think he was going to begin a minor league rehab stint until “sometime in May” anyway. The 40-man roster spot is very valuable. You could give an NRI from your team or from another team, I believe, an extended look if you wanted. I’m not sure if the player would have to be guaranteed a spot on the major league roster, though.
I wish Kyle the best professionally and have great memories of him pitching. But I would be surprised to see him have much MLB success in 2023.
I would be surprised if he didn’t bounce back. ’21 he had 19 quality starts, tied for 9th in MLB. He was likely pitching with the injury before it was detected. He signed a team friendly in ’19, he’ll likely di it again to stay in Chicago. Like Maddux, there probably isn’t a better guy you’d want in the dugout working with young pitchers.
I agree that he is a great guy to have in the dugout and a future coach if he wants. And I hope that I am wrong and you are right that he will get it back together this year, but I doubt it.
That’s fair… And shoulder injuries are more concerning than elbow injuries now, so the doubt is every bit as valid as my optimism. People look at the ERA in ’21 and then ’22 and think he’s washed up. Reality is, his ERA in 26 starts in ’21 was under 3.00. Then the tear was discovered in mid ’22. Was he dealing with the injury in ’21 as well and the tear just blew? Don’t know. I just think his profile of being a low effort guy and he knows how to pitch gives him a better than average chance if bouncing back. It’s not like there wasn’t a reason that he started getting hammered.
What a shame — he used to be such a good pitcher and seemed like a nice guy. But now he is pretty much an innings eater at best.
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What’s really a shame is that Texas had him and traded him for the human dumpster, who had a 5.09 ERA in Texas after putting up a 2.25 ERA with Chicago. Not much of that can be chalked up to ballparks.
I gather you meant “Dempster fire.”
As much as I like Kyle Cubs shouldve traded him a few yrs back when his value was at its peak and the Cubs werent going anywhere.
It’s just ssooooo easy to say that, in hindsight.
Except it was also an obvious choice that the Cubs didn’t pursue. If they only knew how to develop SP, he would’ve been gone.
Looks like they are learning how to develop pitchers now. Expect them to have a top 12 rotation in 23 without Hendricks. Unfortunately Kyle probably won’t pitch effectively this season if ever again.
Let’s see how his spring training workouts shape up – they don’t have to put him on the IL until opening day, it would seem.
Really too bad that actual pitchers like him and Maddex are a thing of the past. We no longer have pitchers, rather a bunch of throwers. I enjoyed watching him pitch.
You just need to look harder. Used to be that 95+ was the anomaly. Now it’s 90-.
Nestor Cortes is the best reason to watch a yankee game for me, for example. The renaissance of bartolo colon, another. Grienke may be in that vein this year.
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R.A. Dickey has entered the chat
Hendricks should interest the Yankees. I definitely look at the Cubs and Yankees as trading partners by the trading deadline. Happ or Clay Bellinger and Hendricks for prospects.
I’d give you Happ and Hendricks right now if you pay their salaries. Would give the Cubs 25 million at the end of ST and the deadline to add.
If the Cubs aren’t contending, its likely because Happ, Bellinger and Hendricks aren’t worth trading for.
Unless of course at that point, if they are worth trading, that would probly mean the Cubs are doing well and they will be adding, not subtracting.
I think at the Chicago Cubs made a HUGE ERROR In both Kyle H & Ian H and that was not trading them last office season.
I remember when Jon Heyman has done a story on this. And I high number of Cubs Kool aid drinkers rip JH
Look like he was right again
Trading both after their performances in 2021? Assuming when you say last off-season you mean ‘21. Terrible idea. Kyle fresh off a 4.77 era and Ian a .226 avg, Cubs wouldn’t get much at all for them in a trade at that point. Now Happ’s value is much higher.
This is the time to trade Happ but Kyle will just be bought out (or traded if he shows he can rebound)
His ERA has gone up each season (minus the shortened Covid one) since 2016. That being said, I’m not ready to write his career obituary just yet. If he can fully recover he’s a strikeout machine. Club option at 16 mil next year so he’s playing for dollars
Yep … ’21 he was tied for 9th in quality starts (19) in ALL OF MLB. 17 starts allowing 2 or fewer. 48% if his 96 earned happened in 6 horrible starts. Waaaay to early to order the gravestone. He’s never thrown over 95, so been undervalued his entire career. Because he’s never thrown 90mph people are quick to dismiss him. But because of his style, he’s more likely to bounce back than a guy that established himself throwing 95+.
The time to trade Ian Happ was last year’s trading deadline. His value was at highest It has ever been. Now the Cubs have to hope that Ian has a great first half of the season. In order to get any thing. Plus he a free agent can not see a club giving away the farm to get him for 2-3 months.
They have gotten a few players that are already knocking on the door in recent deadline deals. Problem with Happ is inconsistency. If he repeats 22 he’s worth extending. Bellinger is the one to watch – a center fielder that can get on and steal a base. Will be a valuable tool considering the new rules.