The Chicago Cubs don’t have a whole lot of familiar faces these days.
The team threw in the towel at the 2021 trade deadline, shipping off a handful of star players in return for young talent.
It was the right thing to do, but regardless, it was hard for fans to see.
Not every player was on the move, though.
One Cubs veteran seemed like a trade candidate, but he ultimately wasn’t dealt.
That distinction belongs to Kyle Hendricks.
Hendricks remains a Cub today, and he figures to be a cornerstone for the organization for several more seasons.
Here’s why the team ultimately decided to hold onto him.
He Is Under Club Control Until 2024
Although the Cubs traded away almost all of their star players at the deadline, virtually everyone that was dealt had one big thing in common: contract status.
The Cubs—for the most part—only traded away players who were set to become free agents after the season ended.
That’s important information, because trading away players who are set to become free agents is a very different deadline approach from a total teardown.
A total teardown means blowing literally everything up and starting from scratch.
That includes trading away players who are under contract for multiple seasons, and it typically results in several years of losing.
That wasn’t Chicago’s intent, and that’s not what the organization did.
While Cubs’ moves at the deadline certainly sank the team’s 2021 season, it’s clear that Chicago hopes to be playing winning baseball again as soon as possible.
He Will Serve As A Great Rotation Anchor As The Team Retools
While the Cubs undoubtedly have a couple of rising offensive stars, Hendricks is arguably the most valuable player remaining on the roster.
He has been a reliable starter at every turn of his MLB career, and there is no reason to believe that he is going to run out of juice any time soon.
The 31-year-old has a 3.68 ERA this season over 23 starts, and he leads the NL with 13 wins.
Wins don’t mean much these days when evaluating a pitcher’s performance, but there’s something to be said about the fact that Hendricks leads the league in that category despite being on a really mediocre team.
If Kyle Hendricks wins 20 games this season it will be the greatest achievement of all-time. https://t.co/LlLDJ6NzAx
— Greg Huss (@OutOfTheVines) August 6, 2021
Let’s run through some of Hendricks’ most impressive accolades throughout his eight-year MLB career.
- He received Cy Young votes in 2016 and 2020
- He received MVP votes in 2016
- He won an ERA title in 2016
- He led the league in strikeout-to-walk ratio in 2020
- He has never finished a season with an ERA higher than 3.95
You always know exactly what you’re going to get from Hendricks.
He posts consistently good numbers year in and year out, and he always seems to avoid the injury bug.
Those are great qualities for a player to have, and the Cubs are going to get to build around him for the next few years.
Kyle Hendricks is second in MLB with 17 quality starts this season! pic.twitter.com/bEhkDYrVlz
— Marquee Sports Network (@WatchMarquee) August 7, 2021
It might be a long shot, but if the Cubs thoroughly retool over the next year or so, they could be back as contenders in 2023.