Astros Rumors: Houston’s interest in Liam Hendriks appears serious
The Houston Astros have been linked to Liam Hendriks in free agency, and it appears that their interest in signing the top reliever is very real.
The Houston Astros’ interest in free-agent reliever Liam Hendriks is well-documented at this point. And while Hendriks is drawing interest from multiple teams, the Astros are “all over him,” according to Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com.
Considering that the Astros are in on Hendriks and Roberto Osuna – and are said to have interest in other top relievers – it appears that the organization feels that the position needs as much attention as the outfield, with all three starting outfielders from 2020 all unsigned.
Hendriks, 31, would transform the Astros bullpen. He would be a significant upgrade over previous closer Roberto Osuna and immediately become a dominant arm in the ninth inning. He could have a similar impact in Houston as he did in Oakland, where he transformed an otherwise weak A’s bullpen into a unit capable of competing in the playoffs.
Where the Astros could have trouble with Hendriks, however, is the price it will take to sign him. He is likely to command a four-year deal that could exceed $12-13 million per season. While it is unclear if that is indeed what he is looking for, Will Smith signed a three-year, $40 million deal with the Atlanta Braves last winter. And by all accounts, Hendriks is a superior reliever to Smith – meaning that any team that hopes to sign Hendriks will have to pay up.
With the Astros needing to address all three outfield spots, and pursuing options such as Jackie Bradley Jr. and Michael Brantley, the team may not have the money needed to sign one of those outfielders AND Hendriks. Instead, it may be possible for the Astros to sign, say, Brantley and Osuna to shorter term deals while general manager James Click maintains financial flexibility for future seasons.
There are no deals imminent, but it has become clear that Click will not hesitate to spend big this winter if the opportunity presents itself. He will, however, be conscience to not negatively impact the Astros’ future in any deal. But it appears to be a matter of when, not if, the first big free agent domino falls for Houston.