(670 The Score) In an MLB offseason marked by financial restraint amid economic troubles for organizations, few teams have acted aggressively.
The White Sox have been an exception to that, acquiring right-hander Lance Lynn in a trade with the Rangers, signing veteran outfielder Adam Eaton and now landing the top relief pitcher on the market in star closer Liam Hendriks, whose three-year, $54-million deal with a team option for a fourth season became official Friday. In adding to their core, the White Sox have positioned themselves as a favorite in the American League.
"I got to give (team chairman) Jerry Reinsdorf a lot of credit," general manager Rick Hahn said Friday. "He's given us the flexibility during these extraordinarily uncertain -- and obviously difficult for a lot of people -- times to have the the economic wherewithal to aggressively pursue premium upgrades to a team that we feel is pretty good. Not everybody gets to be in that situation."
Though the free-agent market still features a handful of top players available -- including ace Trevor Bauer and outfielder George Springer -- the White Sox consider themselves set entering the 2021 season, Hahn said.
"To quote 'Hoosiers,' our team is on the floor," Hahn said.
"We're going to continue to explore things, but we feel pretty good about where this group is at right now. If this is the final group come spring, that's all right."
The White Sox went 35-25 in the shortened 2020 season and reached the playoffs for the first time since 2008. It was there that they fell to the Athletics in the best-of-three wild-card round, with Hendriks earning the save for Oakland in the decisive Game 3.
Hendriks was signed to a unique contract that features a $15-million team option or a $15-million buyout for 2024. If the White Sox were to decline the team option, the buyout would be paid out across the next 10 years. It's a concept from the NBA that Reinsdorf, who also owns the Bulls, brought to the White Sox.
Hendriks, 31, hopes to pitch 85 to 90 innings for the White Sox this season, he said. Two years ago, he posted a 1.80 ERA over 85 innings. He had a 1.78 ERA in 25 1/3 innings in 2020.
"If we have a chance to win a game back-to-back-to-back days or four days in a row, whatever it is, I want to have the ball," Hendriks said.
Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.