SAN DIEGO -- The free-agent market is relatively thin on proven closers, but the trade market might now include a prominent name for clubs at the Winter Meetings seeking late-inning bullpen help.
According to a source, Liam Hendriks’ name has surfaced in trade talks between the White Sox and multiple clubs, potentially putting the three-time All-Star in position to be dealt.
Hendriks has been one of the most effective closers in the game over the past four seasons, compiling 114 saves with a 2.26 ERA in 226 appearances since the start of 2019.
The right-hander signed a three-year contract worth $54 million with the White Sox in January 2021, a deal that includes an interesting fourth-year club option worth $15 million. If the option is not exercised, Hendriks will receive a $15 million buyout paid in 10 annual installments of $1.5 million from 2024-33, though a trade would automatically trigger the option, giving him a guaranteed $15 million contract for the 2024 season.
Hendriks, who turns 34 in February, has a limited no-trade clause that allows him to block a deal to five clubs.
In this scenario, the Cubs would be taking a page out of the Rangers' book from last offseason, when Texas signed both Corey Seager and Marcus Semien. Signing both Bogaerts and Swanson would likely hinge upon convincing Bogaerts to move to third base.
Astros aiming for Murphy?
The market for catcher Sean Murphy remains active, as sources expect the Athletics to trade the 2021 Gold Glove winner before the end of the Winter Meetings.
The Cardinals, Rays, Guardians, Red Sox and White Sox all have been attached to Murphy in recent weeks, but according to a source, a new team has emerged as a potential suitor: the Astros.
Houston currently has 36-year-old Martín Maldonado as its starter behind the plate, while 24-year-olds Korey Lee and Yainer Diaz are the other catchers on the 40-man roster. The Astros have been connected with free-agent catcher Willson Contreras, but Murphy is superior defensively and is arbitration-eligible for the next three seasons.
Wide market for Taillon
Jameson Taillon’s market continues to be deep, though the Mets, Phillies, Cubs and Orioles stand out as clubs with a high level of interest in the right-hander.
Taillon went 14-5 with a 3.91 ERA in 32 starts for the Yankees in 2022, throwing 177 1/3 innings -- his highest total since ’18, when he threw a career-high 191 innings with Pittsburgh.
Unlike fellow free agents Carlos Rodón, Chris Bassitt and Nathan Eovaldi, Taillon was not extended a qualifying offer last month, so any team that signs him will not be subject to the loss of a Draft pick. Sources say the 31-year-old Taillon is expected to land a deal bigger than the four-year, $56 million contract Jon Gray signed with the Rangers last offseason.