White Sox decline option on Hendriks; Clevinger declines his option

Thompson, Frazier outrighted to Triple-A Charlotte

November 4th, 2023

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- intends to pitch at some point late in the 2024 season, despite undergoing Tommy John surgery on Aug. 2 in ‘23.

But it does not look as if Hendriks will be pitching for the White Sox, as the team declined its $15 million option in his contract as announced Friday. Hendriks becomes a free agent, with a $15 million buyout to be paid in $1.5 million yearly increments from 2024-33.

When healthy, Hendriks has been one of the best closers in the game. He also is a charitable force with his wife, Kristi, as well as an engagingly positive clubhouse presence. The word “inspiration” can be added to Hendriks’ resume, after he battled through Stage 4 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and returned to the Guaranteed Rate Field mound on May 29 against the Angels when the disease went into remission.

Hendriks’ 27 pitches and one inning thrown that night would have been the highlight of Chicago’s season even in far better on-field times. Hendriks met with recovering cancer patients or people still battling the illness during every home series and almost every road series he attended. That commitment won’t stop.

“The more you say it, the less weight it holds,” Hendriks said during his end-of-season interview. “... If you talk about it with kids who are 12 to 20, tell kids to ask you questions because they’re going to be uncomfortable asking you questions. You’re going to shy from it, but if you both go head on, it will be easier for everyone involved going through this.

“In conversations, it’s been a lot lighter for me because you remove the stigma from the word ‘cancer’ and ‘chemotherapy.’ All of a sudden, it’s not as dire or anything like that. You have a chance to reshape the way your mind thinks about certain words and diseases.”

Right-handed starter declined his portion of the $12 million mutual buyout in his contract with the White Sox, leading to a $4 million buyout. Clevinger re-enters free agency after a strong season on the South Side, and should be one of the more sought-after pitchers in this year’s free-agency class.

He missed all of 2021 while recovering from Tommy John surgery and had a 4.33 ERA in 22 starts with the Padres in ‘22, but had a 3.77 ERA in 24 starts (131 1/3 innings) with the White Sox in '23. The longtime Cleveland pitcher's best season came in 2019, when he went 13-4 with a 2.71 ERA in 21 starts (126 innings). He had a 3.02 ERA in 32 starts (200 innings) the year prior. He was on a one-year, $8 million deal with the aforementioned buyout.

The White Sox also announced that outfielders and  had been outrighted off the 40-man roster to Triple-A Charlotte, which brings the team’s 40-man roster down to 36. Thompson, who was in his third stint with the White Sox after being acquired as part of the Lance Lynn/Joe Kelly trade with the Dodgers at the Deadline, hit .171 with one homer in 36 games with Chicago. Thompson, 32, also was a valuable clubhouse presence on the South Side.

Hendriks had a 5.40 ERA in five games with the White Sox this season before the right-hander could no longer pitch with the pain. He produced a 2.76 ERA and 76 saves in 133 2/3 innings with the White Sox over the last three years, and was named an All-Star in 2021 and ‘22.

His goal is to get back to the mound as soon as possible, which should surprise no one familiar with Hendriks’ fortitude.

“It’s just who I am. I don’t necessarily want to get into a position mentally where I’m OK with delaying things. It’s going to be a constant push to try and, ‘Oh, this is my goal? I want to beat that goal,’” Hendriks said. “Also doing it in a smart way.

“We’ll see as far as what everything else goes. Just a matter of going through the steps, the game plan from the surgeon. Sent Dr. [Keith] Meister [Hendriks’ Tommy John surgeon] a text, and I’ve already tried to trim some fat off the throwing program a little bit, but we’ll see how that goes.”

The White Sox hold a $14 million club option for shortstop Tim Anderson, with a $1 million buyout, which must be decided by Monday.