(670 The Score) Cubs right-hander Kyle Hendricks’ season is over after an MRI recently revealed a capsular tear in his right shoulder that will need at least 12 weeks of rest and rehabilitation, and the injury also clouds his future with an organization in transition.
Hendricks, 32, is due $14 million in 2023, the final season of a four-year extension he signed in 2019. His deal also includes a $16-million club option and $1.5-million buyout in 2024. The question now is if he’ll be a part of the team’s future beyond this year, as Hendricks was already landing in trade rumors earlier this season before he was sidelined by injury.
“You know, it's OK to hear that,” Hendricks said when asked about the idea of pitching elsewhere in the coming years. “At the end of the day, we have seen so much happen here with the Cubs. Especially over the last year or two, there have been a lot of moves and before that rumors for a lot of guys. To be able to play here for as long as I have, for this organization and these fans has been incredible. I don 't take any of these days with the Cubs for granted. I would love to continue to be here. I have always said that. This is really heaven. It’s really heaven on earth. However, this is a business and things happen. I am OK with that. If I end up being somewhere else, you just make the most of it."
Hendricks has been a rock in the Cubs’ rotation for years and was an instrumental figure in helping the organization win the World Series title in 2016. He’s 87-61 with a 3.46 ERA in his nine-year MLB career, which has been spent entirely with Chicago at the big league level after the Cubs acquired him from the Rangers in a trade in 2012.
Hendricks had a 4.80 ERA and 1.29 WHIP in 16 starts before being injured this season. With the Cubs planning to release outfielder Jason Heyward at season’s end and catcher Willson Contreras likely to leave in free agency, Hendricks could be the last man standing from the 2016 championship team if he remains on the club in 2023.
“It just goes to show you the game has changed a lot,” Hendricks said. “There is a big turnover rate now. It just tells you to take advantage of the time you have with the guys you have on your team and appreciate that. You most soak in every moment of all of these days. You just never know how long it will last.”
For now, Hendricks is focused on his upcoming physical therapy for his shoulder and getting back to health. After that, he intends to keep pitching for a long time, wherever that may be.
"I want to pitch as long as I can,” Hendricks said. “This is what I do. I love it, and I don't think I will ever stop loving it. So I must take a step back and with the long term in mind, I must get fully healthy so I can pitch many more years in the future. Growing up as a kid, looking at pitching in the big leagues, I am already beyond where I dreamt. It's been a super special journey.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.