Given the information that was available at the time, that was a reasonable expectation.
Hendricks already had an ERA title and World Series ring under his belt at the time of the agreement.
The deal was celebrated by all involved parties when it was announced.
But unfortunately, the deal isn’t being celebrated anymore.
Hendricks has had a brutal 2021 season, and so have the Cubs.
The 31-year-old might not be an ace anymore, and Chicago needs to prepare for that possibility.
The 2021 Season Has Been The Worst Of Hendricks’ Career
In case you haven’t already gathered this, the 2021 campaign has been the worst year of Hendricks’ career.
Buckle up and check this out: The righty has allowed six runs or more in four of his last seven starts.
On the year, he has allowed six runs or more in seven of his starts.
Bad days happen, but there’s a difference between getting tagged for a few runs and getting absolutely shelled.
Anytime you give up six runs, you’re not giving your team a chance to win.
Overall, Hendricks has a 4.81 ERA, 4.92 FIP, and 1.37 WHIP on the season.
He has allowed a league-worst 190 hits, and his ERA+ of 87 is well below the league average of 100.
Given how reliable he has been throughout his MLB career, this is tough to see.
2021 version of Kyle Hendricks is forgettable and I hope he can get back to being around 3 ERA pitcher. I believe he’s still good but this season has been weird for him. I’m sure most Cubs fans would like to forget that. #Cubs
— Jhonathan 🇵🇷 (@deafboricua21) September 17, 2021
The Dartmouth College product is under contract with the Cubs until 2024.
Needless to say, the organization probably isn’t thrilled with this year’s developments.
He Might Improve In 2022, But The Cubs Can’t Count On It
Going forward, the Cubs need to hope for the best and plan for the worst.
If the organization really wants to return as a contender in 2022 or 2023, then some serious work will need to be done in the upcoming offseason and the following one.
The rotation is arguably the biggest area of concern.
The unit has a 5.26 ERA in 2021, which ranks 27th out of 30 teams.
The blame doesn’t fall on one person’s shoulders in particular, but one of the reasons the rotation has struggled so mightily this season is because the staff lacks an ace.
Chicago can’t count on Hendricks to play that role in 2022, because he clearly hasn’t been up for the task in 2021.
And sure, the former eighth-round pick definitely could end up bouncing back next season, and that would be fantastic — but the Cubs can’t bank on that.
I feel like Kyle Hendricks moving forward into the next part of his contract will not be “Kyle Hendricks.” He will occasionally be great, but even more inconsistent. No stats, just a feeling. At least 3 starters needed this off-season. #Cubs
— MBDChicago (@MBDChicago) September 17, 2021
The upcoming free-agent class is loaded with elite starting pitchers, and Chicago should do its very best to add one (or two) of them.
For a team with rotation woes, this upcoming offseason is a dream come true.
Here are some of the most notable starting pitchers who are set to become free agents:
- Justin Verlander
- Max Scherzer
- Zack Greinke
- Marcus Stroman
- Kevin Gausman
- Alex Cobb
- Danny Duffy
- Corey Kluber
- Noah Syndergaard
- Michael Pineda
- Adam Wainwright
- Robbie Ray
- Anthony DeSclafani
- Carlos Rodon
That’s really just the start.
There's probably more high class free agent pitchers coming this offseason than position players
— Ha-Seong Kim stan, Mike (@ThBoneOfMySword) June 10, 2021
For a full list, you can click here.
There’s no shortage of options, and the Cubs can’t afford to waste such a golden opportunity.