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The Boston Red Sox have begun building their 2025 bullpen. The BoSox and three-time All-Star closer Liam Hendriks have agreed to a two-year contract worth $10 million, reports ESPN. The contract includes incentives and a third-year mutual option. The Red Sox have not yet announced the signing, which is pending a physical.

Hendriks, 35, returned from stage 4 non-Hodgkin's lymphoma last May, which earned him the AL Comeback Player of the Year award. His comeback did not last long, however. Hendriks blew out his elbow after five appearances with the Chicago White Sox and had Tommy John surgery in early August. He is expected to miss most or all of the 2024 season.

Liam Hendriks
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It is possible Hendriks could return in the second half this summer. Tommy John surgery typically comes with a 14-month rehab these days, though Hendriks is a reliever who does not need to get stretched out to 80-plus pitches, which could hasten his return. It's possible the Red Sox could get him in their bullpen in time for a late-season postseason push.

Of course, the Red Sox finished in last place last season, and three times in the last four years. They are not projected to be a slam dunk contender in 2024, meaning any innings Hendriks provides may not have much value. Still, if he's healthy and he can pitch, he should pitch. Tommy John surgery rehab is grueling and completing it is a major milestone.

Kenley Jansen and Chris Martin, Boston's top two relievers, will both be free agents after the coming season, and they have frequently been mentioned in trades. Anything Hendriks gives the Red Sox in 2024 is a bonus. The signing is aimed more toward building the 2025 bullpen, which may not include Jansen and/or Martin.

In 2022, Hendriks saved 37 games and pitched to a 2.81 ERA with 85 strikeouts in 57 2/3 innings with the White Sox. He had a 2.26 ERA from 2019-22 and was arguably the best reliever in the game. Hendriks received his cancer diagnosis in December 2022.

The Red Sox went 78-84 last year and missed the postseason by 11 games. Following a fairly low-key offseason, projection systems have Boston on the outside of the postseason race heading into 2024.