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chicago cubs logo[I'm not saying I call all the minor moves the Cubs make - I make a lot of calls, and they make a lot of minor moves - but my batting average is become unsustainably high.]

Today, the Chicago Cubs claimed righty pitcher Liam Hendriks off of waivers from the Twins (per Patrick Mooney and LaVelle Neal).You’ll have to forgive the appearance of gushing at another minor Cubs move. I don’t gush at the gravity of the move (I call them “minor” for a reason), I gush only at the fact that, given the low risk involved, I’m happy to see the front office doing some things that make sense. If they don’t have the dollars to go all out on Shin-Soo Choo right now, they might as well be making savvy waiver and minor league moves.

Hendriks is another one of those moves, as I wrote earlier in the week:

An intriguing DFA target to monitor: 24-year-old Australian righty Liam Hendriks was just DFA’d by the Twins, who might look to trade him before putting him on waivers. His minor league peripherals are as fantastic as his big league numbers are bad. Thing is, all the usual “bad luck” indicators are there in spades for Hendriks in the bigs: enormous home run rate (after never giving up homers in the minors), ridiculously low LOB%, and a BABIP about 20 points higher than you’d expect it to be. Although Hendriks would require a 40-man roster spot, he does come with an extra option year left, meaning a team like the Cubs could put him at AAA and let him continue to develop (with another Hendricks) until a spot opens up. I really like him as a possibility.

Hendriks was the Twins’ minor league pitcher of the year in 2011, and was ranked as high as the third best prospect in the Twins’ system going into the 2012 season. In 2012, at age 23, he got a chance to break out with the big club, but, as discussed, he bombed (it didn’t help that he was rapidly yo-yo’d back to AAA). The real question is whether he won’t be able to get over the big league hump, or if he merely was bitten by some bad luck.

The only reason Hendriks was even available to be grabbed is because the Twins faced a roster and pitching crunch after signing both Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes, with plans to sign at least one more starter. They opted to go the big league free agency route, and no longer has space/time for Hendriks. It doesn’t sound like they were happy to potentially lose him.

The Twins’ loss is the Cubs’ gain, especially given that the Cubs can simply option him to AAA Iowa and let him start in the rotation there. Maybe he shows the organization why he was so well regarded as a prospect, why he put up such dominant numbers in the minors, and why, with better luck, he’s got a big league arm.

A lot of these waiver/minor league deal moves are simply about depth. This one is about upside. It’s a good risk to take, given that it costs only a 40-man spot (and the Cubs could waive Hendriks if they need that spot back at any time).

After adding Hendriks, the Cubs’ 40-man will stand at 38.

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    The Cubs must lead the league in minor league to major league deals ratio.

  • North Side Irish

    Cubs sign John Baker and Ryan Kalish to minor league deals too…busy day…

  • Blackhawks1963

    This announcement generates the same amount of excitement that getting a new pair of socks for Christmas does.

    • Fishin Phil

      Socks may not be flashy, but they can be very useful.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Dobby the House-elf would beg to differ! (If he were real.) ((If he were real and not dead.))

        Shame about them matching, though….

      • Blackhawks1963

        Full agreement. Take enough of these low investment gambles and one or two are bound to come up successful. I don’t object to the strategy. But who on God’s green earth would have thought our offseason moves would have comprised a catching reject out of Kansas City, a loogy out of Tampa Bay, a platoon outfielder out of Miami and a mix of minor league deal types.

        I guess when they announce another year of donations going to the Scott Baker Charity Fund we should celebrate for real.

        Sigh.

        • Diamondrock

          Yes indeed, this certainly must be the end of the Cubs’ offseason moves. After all, opening day is TOMORROW!

    • Frank

      Wow, you got a pair of socks for Christmas? Your so lucky. I got a lump of coal. Unfortunately it was glowing.

    • ClevelandCubsFan

      This is more like flannel pajamas that fit just perfectly. You’re not going to make a big deal about it, but you’re pretty happy you got em. And you look forward to how they might make life a little more enjoyable for you.

  • Mike

    I would like to see the cubs get Yoon…he could compete for the fifth spot and at the very least be a nice addition to the bullpen. Sam Fuld would be a nice addition to the outfield as well. We could use some speed.

    • Fishin Phil

      Mike, I’m with you on Yoon, but not on Fuld.

  • Die hard

    Zzzzzzzzz zzzzzzz

    • ClevelandCubsFan

      Hey Cubs, die hard, is asleep! Quick, go make some strategic minor league signing while he’s not aware so he can’t comment!

      :-)

      • DarthHater

        I don’t think he’s asleep. That’s the most lucid thing he’s said in weeks.

        • Wilbur

          I get a kick out of Die Hard, rarely understand his logic, but I don’t have to. Only he does …

  • Mick

    I’m saying this with complete seriousness, plug Hendriks into the #5 spot right now, let him sink or swim. This kid’s a legit waiver pick-up that could pay off huge for the Cubs. He’s nothing above a #3 SP but even a #4 or #5 is well worth it. The only reason he’s available is because of where the Twins are organizationally and the need to make the fans happy with a solid SP rotation. It’s like, for example, next offseason when the Cubs waive Josh Vitters and another team picks him up right before he actually breaks out.

    • Fishin Phil

      I don’t know that I’d go that far before spring training, but I love the fact that there should be plenty of competition this spring.

  • BenRoethig

    Definitely a guy who’s worth a flyer on. Chris Bosio has shown success so far with getting pitchers to realize potential.

  • cub2014

    i am worried about the AAA rotation we have
    too many guys.

  • Pingback: Waiver Swap: Cubs Pick Up Brett Marshall, Lose Liam Hendriks | Bleacher Nation | Chicago Cubs News, Rumors, and Commentary

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