• Liam Hendriks Deserves Another Chance

    Twins players will have will have plenty of things to reflect on this coming offseason. When a team has multiple 90-loss seasons in a row, changes are likely and some of those situations have started to play themselves out. Minnesota needs pitchers to stand out in the final games of the season as the team tries to figure out the future.

    Liam Hendriks is one player on shaky ground for 2014. The team rushed him to the big leagues as a 22-year old and struggles have followed him since. Next season, he will be 25 and there is a chance the Twins remove him from the 40-man rosters, as Nick Nelson wrote here at Twins Daily, Hendriks might have run out of chances.


    Minnesota needs some semblance of a starting rotation for next season and there aren't any sure bets on the free agent market. This might leave a window open for Hendriks to get one more shot in 2014. It might not be a good chance but it could be a chance.

    The Twins have jerked him back and forth between the minor leagues and the big leagues over the past three seasons. With the Twins, he has never started more than eight games consecutively and that was at the end of last season. It is a challenge to figure out big league hitters when a pitcher isn't given the opportunity to start consecutive games. His pitches are already bottom-of-the- rotation material and moving him up and down hasn't helped.

    In 2011 at Double-A and 2012 at Triple-A, Hendriks was a very effective pitcher. He posted ERAs of under 3.00 and he averaged over six innings per appearance. Strikeouts have never been his specialty; he is most effective when he limits walks and induces ground balls. This hasn't happened at the major league level but he has shown these skills in the minors.

    Another reason to keep Hendriks around is the fact he won't be arbitration- eligible until the 2016 season and he can't reach free agency until 2019. This means he will be a relatively cheap player on the roster and the Twins can use the money they save on him to spend on other pieces of the roster.

    Even in their recent down years, the Twins have found effective relief pitchers in various ways. One way has been to shift starters into the bullpen. Minnesota has seen successful transitions from Glen Perkins and Anthony Swarzak and this could be a path to follow with Hendriks. At the end of 2013 Minnesota has already used him as a long-relief man and it could be a sign of things to come.

    Is Hendriks going to be a key piece to the potential Twins turnaround? Likely not but it still doesn't mean it is time to give up on him. It would have been nice for Hendriks to get more opportunities at the big league level. The team has never given him a consistent shot at sticking in the rotation and most of this has been because of his ineffective pitching.

    Hendriks might not be the answer to all the Twins pitching problems but he deserves another chance to make it work in some kind of role for 2014.
    This article was originally published in blog: Liam Hendriks Deserves Another Chance started by Cody Christie
    Comments 23 Comments
    1. SpitefulRabbit617's Avatar
      SpitefulRabbit617 -
      I'd rather see Liam hendricks have another chance....... with the Astros or Marlins.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      keep him around, but don't assume he'll be one of the top 5.
    1. IdahoPilgrim's Avatar
      IdahoPilgrim -
      There seems to be an implicit theme here that Hendriks hasn't been given a fair shot. I would disagree with that. If we want to give him another chance that's fine, but at some point a decision has to be made yes or no, and then we all move on.

      Same thing applies to Duensing & Swarzak.
    1. Jeff A's Avatar
      Jeff A -
      I think the Twins would've been better served to put Hendriks in the rotation all year (assuming he wasn't hurt from the beginning) and see what happened, since they weren't going anywhere anyway. It appears to me, though, that the Twins have already decided that Hendriks is not going to be an effective big-league pitcher. Given that, I'd like to see them give him a chance to go elsewhere.
    1. KGB's Avatar
      KGB -
      I don't see any reason to cut ties with Hendriks. We have plenty of room on the 40 man roster and he only 1 year older than our top pitching prospects Meyer/May who have not pitched above AA. Also after 3-90 lost season, hard to believe we will not have a different coaching staff. Maybe someone else can get through to him.
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      This subject was thrashed-out not long ago in a thread--and what has changed? Hendriks wasn't rushed--he was misdeveloped. Instead of learning how to get strikeouts he required to just "pound the strikezone" with the purpose of low pitch-counts per plate appearance--PtoC. Sadly, though this philosophy works very well in the minors it fails at the major league level. Hendriks is just another of Twins'-developed pitchers that looked very good in the minors--but ultimately failed at the major league level. There is nothing the Twins can do to "help" him.
    1. ericchri's Avatar
      ericchri -
      A part of me wants to see Hendriks get another chance cause he seems like a good guy who could still develop into a serviceable pitcher.

      I've kinda reached the point, however, where I'd really like to see the Twins actually wash a few guys like this out of their system. Not because you don't need some AAAA fill-ins available to you, but because we're swimming in them right now, and I'd prefer to move on looking for guys with more overall talent. He's had chances and done little with them, I'm ready for somebody else to get their chance to sink or swim who hasn't gotten multiple chances already.
    1. adjacent's Avatar
      adjacent -
      I would say it depends on the pitching that the Twins get in the offseason. If we get decent pitching either via free agency or trade, then no. If we get again the Jason Marquis of the world, I'd rather see Hendricks than one of those.
    1. Highabove's Avatar
      Highabove -
      wins
      2 win 11 loss lowest ERA 5.59 2012

      He's had his chances.
    1. raindog's Avatar
      raindog -
      I wouldn't say he deserves another chance, but I'd give him one. At least give him the opportunity to make the squad out of spring training. I don't expect much, but he's young and been successfully in AAA. He'd be on a short leash, though.
    1. cmathewson's Avatar
      cmathewson -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jeff A View Post
      I think the Twins would've been better served to put Hendriks in the rotation all year (assuming he wasn't hurt from the beginning) and see what happened, since they weren't going anywhere anyway. It appears to me, though, that the Twins have already decided that Hendriks is not going to be an effective big-league pitcher. Given that, I'd like to see them give him a chance to go elsewhere.
      14 pitchers is what would have happened.
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      Only reason he should get a chance is if there is no one better. He's still young, but I don't see how he could improve. Ultimately the coaching failed as Kwak pointed out. I'm not angry at Hendriks one bit.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Minnesota needs some semblance of a starting rotation for next season and there aren't any sure bets on the free agent market.
      Not sure who started this suburban fairy tale (must have been Terry Ryan), but it is totally unsubstantiated.

      (copy and paste)

      Tim Lincecum
      Matt Garza
      Dan Haren
      Ricky Nolasco
      Josh Johnson
      Ervin Santana

      and possibly (they have options) :

      James Shields
      Ubaldo Jimenez
      Jon Lester

      Plus the oldies, but all of these guys are relatively young.

      You can build two very good rotations with those guys, unlike last season

      (end copy and paste)

      As far as Hendriks is concerned, I'd rather see May and Meyer and Gibson internally first and (because he is young) let him pitch in Rochester until he improves his stuff...
    1. jimbo92107's Avatar
      jimbo92107 -
      Maybe Hendriks should do what Swarzak and Duensing have done - spend one or more seasons building a foundation of good stuff in the bullpen, then try to transition to the starting rotation. Guys that don't have devastating stuff need time to hone their skills against major league hitters, but at first it's better to work on getting just a few guys out per appearance. This used to be normal in pro baseball.
    1. clutterheart's Avatar
      clutterheart -
      He was a GB pitcher in 2011 & 2012 but he hasn't been able to repeat that. He doesn't seem to have a SO pitch and has questionable control. Reminds me of Nick Blackburn.

      Hendricks is a AAA pitcher. He could put together a decent year here or there but he is not to be counted on. Since the current 40 man has many pieces that could be unloaded, there is no reason to rush a decision on him.

      But to say he "deserves" anything at this point seems to be a stretch of the definition of "deserve."
    1. Alex's Avatar
      Alex -
      Quote Originally Posted by IdahoPilgrim View Post
      I would disagree with that. If we want to give him another chance that's fine, but at some point a decision has to be made yes or no, and then we all move on.

      Same thing applies to Duensing & Swarzak.
      There's a difference between these two and Hendriks -- Swarzak is 28, Duensing is 30. (Heck, Kyle Gibson is older than he is) .Hendriks is 24 has the equivalent of one full major league season under his belt. I'm not saying he'll be an ace, but I think it's a bit early to cut ties. I'd like to see if he can figure it out next year.
    1. MarshalltheIrish's Avatar
      MarshalltheIrish -
      Couldn't disagree more, time to move on without him. Not to dump on him solely, but the Twins absolutely need a fresh start roster-wise next year and it's time to either demote or let go of a good number of players and I think he's definitely one. Hendriks has had his chances and he's just been a disappointment. With the need for a much stronger pitching staff next year stronger than ever, there just isn't any room to have him in the rotation. Like others have said above, if he can hone his skills in the bullpen or even find his role there like Duensing and Swarzak have, that would be fantastic. Only then will he deserve another chance. The ideal 2014 rotation in my opinion would be three free agent starters (admittedly optimistic, but still), Correia, and perhaps Deduno if he's healthy.
    1. ltwedt's Avatar
      ltwedt -
      A chance????? AAAAAAKKKKKK NO HE DOES NOT!!! And neither do Correia, Pelfry, Walters, or De Vries.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Quote Originally Posted by Thrylos View Post
      Not sure who started this suburban fairy tale (must have been Terry Ryan), but it is totally unsubstantiated.

      (copy and paste)

      Tim Lincecum
      Matt Garza
      Dan Haren
      Ricky Nolasco
      Josh Johnson
      Ervin Santana

      and possibly (they have options) :

      James Shields
      Ubaldo Jimenez
      Jon Lester

      Plus the oldies, but all of these guys are relatively young.

      You can build two very good rotations with those guys, unlike last season

      (end copy and paste)

      As far as Hendriks is concerned, I'd rather see May and Meyer and Gibson internally first and (because he is young) let him pitch in Rochester until he improves his stuff...
      The comment was that there weren't any sure bets in the FA market. I don't know you consider Linci, Haren, Nolasco, and Johnson (though his problem is more health related) a sure bet by any means. Even Santana wasn't a sure bet coming into the season. You could sign 5 of those guys and still field a team that is below .500.
    1. raindog's Avatar
      raindog -
      Yeah, I don't think you could build one good rotation out of those candidates. Better than what the Twins have, but that's not saying much.
©2014 TwinsCentric, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Interested in advertising with Twins Daily? Click here.