How a deep White Sox bullpen stacks up with Liam Hendriks at closer

Not only are the White Sox the proud new employers of one of the game’s elite closers, they’re in possession of one of the game’s great bullpens.

The White Sox inked Liam Hendriks, the top closer on the free-agent market, to a three-year contract, according to multiple Monday-night reports, giving them a guy who dominated as the ninth-inning man for the Oakland Athletics the past two seasons. But while Hendriks alone brings the South Siders closer to their goal of a championship-caliber roster, it’s what his presence does for the relief corps as a whole that is one of the biggest plusses of the addition.

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General manager Rick Hahn, prior to his front office making another big offseason splash by signing Hendriks, pointed out the team’s wealth of talented bullpen arms, and indeed, after strong seasons in 2020, there seemed to be plenty of potential candidates to take over closing duties, had that been necessary. Aaron Bummer, Evan Marshall, Codi Heuer, Matt Foster and Garrett Crochet all flourished in high-leverage situations last season.

But with Hendriks aboard, that’s not necessary. Not only do the White Sox, with World Series aspirations in 2021, not have to pin their fortunes on a closer who hasn’t done the job before, but they also don’t have to worry about replacing whichever pitcher would have been thrown into the closing fire. All of those aforementioned arms…

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