A tweet floated across my face this afternoon, and I was reminded that – for most of this offseason – the New York Post has connected the two New York teams to various Cubs players in rumors. Some sourced, some merely imagined.
To be sure, some of those rumors make total sense (right down to the early offseason talk of Yu Darvish being on the move), but other discussions are less realistic.
To wit, the aforementioned tweet:
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) January 18, 2021
The premise there is that the Yankees need to acquire a quality starting pitcher whose salary is economical. Here’s how Hendricks is described as target number two, behind German Marquez:
All the choices on this list are from the NL, many from the weak NL Central, so consider the competition. But think of Hendricks as a righty Jimmy Key with durability — a savvy artist with fortitude. He has three years at $43.5 million left or four at $58 million if his 2024 option is picked up and costs $14 million toward the luxury tax payroll (so the Cubs would have to take Adam Ottavino as a financial counterweight if the Yanks hoped to stay under the $210 million threshold). The Cubs would rather move Kris Bryant or Willson Contreras and still try to win the NL Central with Hendricks as the ace.
I get that the YANKEES might want the Cubs to take a financial counterweight to help the YANKEES luxury tax considerations this year, but I mean, you’re kinda missing the whole discussion if you’re not getting into the absolutely enormous TRADE price tag that would cost the Yankees.
(By the way: Jimmy Key was really darn good for a really long time, so hey, maybe Joel Sherman does appreciate Hendricks appropriately?)
I’m not saying Hendricks has to be nailed down in the Cubs dugout, but given the affordability of his contract (yes, considerably more affordable even than Darvish’s) and the Cubs’ eye-poppingly thin rotation (yes, even in a year when they might not compete anyway), I don’t see a realistic scenario where they trade him. Not only would the Cubs have to get a return so obscenely overwhelming that they couldn’t say no, but they’d have to get that against the backdrop of a league that still somehow doesn’t seem to realize that Hendricks has been one of the 10 best starting pitchers in baseball since 2015.
So, then, I don’t really see the point here. Sherman is a great reporter, and he’s also doing a great job imagining things from a New York perspective, but the Yankees aren’t going to give up what it would take to get Hendricks from the Cubs right now.