Liam Hendriks undergoes Tommy John surgery as Garrett Crochet struggles with his return

White Sox closer Liam Hendriks
(Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/USA TODAY Sports)

The White Sox placed Liam Hendriks on the injured list with right elbow inflammation back on June 11, and the more time passed without an update, the worse the news was likely to be.

Sure enough, nearly two months after he was shelved, the White Sox broke the bad news: Hendriks underwent Tommy John surgery on Wednesday morning, and he’ll be expected to miss between 12 and 14 months.

That gives everybody plenty of time to wonder whether the White Sox allowed Hendriks to ramp up too aggressively in his comeback from non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

On one hand, Hendriks has pitched with a partially torn UCL for the last 15 years, so it’s not necessarily surprising that it would finally give way at age 34. On the other, while Rick Hahn called Hendriks’ comeback “perhaps the most thoroughly vetted return to play of any player in certainly my memory,” only to have Hendriks undermine it a few days later by saying his elbow had bothered him during his rehab assignment.

“It’s been sore for the last few weeks, ever since before my rehab assignment it was barking, but my mantra is to pitch things until I can’t,” Hendriks said Tuesday at Dodger Stadium. “It kept getting a little worse and worse and worse until the last couple of outings I wasn’t able to pitch through that pain.”

If you split the difference and say Hendriks could return in 13 months, that puts him back on the 26-man roster in September, the final month of his four-year deal. That’s if the White Sox exercise his $15 million option for 2024, rather than buying him out and deferring that money over 10 years. I don’t have a sense of which one the White Sox will choose, partially because of the emotions involved, and partially because if the White Sox insured his contract, it might make more sense to keep him on the books. I suppose this will be one of those decisions that Hahn — or “the people in charge” — will inform the media about at the end of the season.

White Sox pitcher Garrett Crochet
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire)

Seeing the 12-to-14-month timetable reminded me that Garrett Crochet returned from his Tommy John surgery a little after 13 months, and it hasn’t gone so well. The White Sox reinstated him from the injured list on May 16, and then he was taken out of play on June 20 with left shoulder inflammation.

Crochet’s rehab stint from that injury was interrupted by a muscle strain in his left shoulder, so he’s not expected to start throwing again until the middle of this month.

Given that Crochet has missed time in each of the last three seasons, he wondered aloud last week whether starting would take less of a toll:

‘‘I feel like [a starter’s] routine is a better routine for me, based on the bumps and bruises that have been happening to me [in relief],’’ Crochet said. ‘‘I just want the opportunity to do it. If I can’t, I’m more than willing to go back into the reliever role. That’s been my dream from the start. I’d like to at least either prove to myself I can or can’t, and then I can be at peace with that.’’

Crochet has to be earnest about it, because he’s eligible for arbitration after the season, and transitioning to the rotation might require the Sox to option him to the minors for the first time in his career, which would delay free agency by a year. There’s also the two-pronged question about whether his body could handle throwing 80-plus pitches every five days, or whether he possesses the arsenal and command to face a lineup multiple times through.

I don’t really see the incentive for such an experiment on the White Sox’s side, especially now that Hendriks joins the traded Kendall Graveman and Joe Kelly in being crossed off the 2024 bullpen (Reynaldo López is a free agent, so the Sox could sign him after the season if they cared to). The White Sox acquired three Double-A starters — Nick Nastrini, Ky Bush and Jake Eder — so the pitching forecast isn’t as arid as it was a week ago. Meanwhile, Aaron Bummer and Gregory Santos are the only fixture material in the bullpen, with six spots left to go.

All this assumes that the White Sox will try to run out a credible roster in 2024. If they’re punting that season with eyes on 2025, all bets are off, because all standards will be on hiatus.

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Yolmer's gatorade

It seems to me there is a possibility Hendriks renegotiates his contract. Instead of the $15 million in deferred money, something like $5 million in 2024 and $15 million in 2025. I believe they included this deferred money provision as a kind of insurance against injury.


I doubt Hendriks would be interested in this re-structuring. He’s guaranteed $15m. Why delay free agency for a year for $5m? Even if he’s forced to take a pillow contract, he’d make more than $5m in 2025.

Yolmer's gatorade

The time value of money. $1.5 million in 2034 is not worth $1.5 million of today’s dollars. He will be a 36 year old reliever coming off TJS. He is probably signing a 1 year prove it deal in 2025 anyway.


I agree he’ll sign a 1-year prove-it deal in 2025 but he’ll get more than $5m for it. Not only that, but if they buy him out he’ll likely get a deal of some kind in 2024. I get your point but I think he could make somewhere north of $10m more by declining that deal.

Having said that, it’s an interesting idea and I wouldn’t hate it if the Sox tried it.

Yolmer's gatorade

I wasn’t sure about the numbers, but some sort of renegotiation where they pay him some money in 2024 and more in 2025. I think Blake Treinen had a similar arrangement when he was injured a few years ago.

Alfornia Jones

Totally. Only deal he should make is have them exercise the full $15m in 2024, then give the Sox ability to match any offer he gets in 2025. If the Sox opt to the deferred option in 2024, then Liam is a free man and can forget the White Sox other than his $1.5m annuity xmas card. The guy will be pitching for someone in late 2024 to lay some track for his 2025 deal, he’ll get more than $5m for sure.


Or he can bank the $15 million over 10 years, sign a 2-year deal with a team that A) will compete in 2025, and B) knows what the hell they’re doing, so that new team will oversee his rehab in 2024 and he can pitch for a contender in 2025.


Thats probably best case scenario for Hendricks. Any trust the White Sox training staff to rehab anyone well enough? Every player has lingering issues it seems


I have a hard time believing they could have gotten insurance on what is essentially a pre-existing condition, but then again, he’d pitched for years with it so maybe someone was willing to do it!


You can always put Crochet back in the pen, no one with a functioning brain thinks the sox are actually contending in 2024. They have 2024 to play with in terms of trying to let Crochet start. They probably will also let guys like Scholtens, Toussaint, Patino, get a small shot for a while, while the aforementioned trio of Nastrini, Bush, Eder get some AAA seasoning before making their debuts. Should line up decently with Mena, Cannon, MacDougal, Pellette, Thompson starting in AA and Schultz not far behind either.


Out of these names you mentioned does anyone know for sure who has already had TJS? Nastrini, Bush, Eder, Mena, Cannon, MacDougal, Pallette, Thompson

For the ones that haven’t had it (most, or perhaps all of them is my guess), perhaps they should just go ahead and pre-emptively cut up those elbows this month as well to get rehabbing underway and preserve the next “window”. involuntary surgery? Am I just joking? idk man.

Also, I think we have all learned the hard way that the term window is misleading anyway, at least in this organization. A window is a tangible, measurable, functional opening from one space into another. I propose it should instead be referred to as a theoretical wormhole or something similar. It may or may not even exist, totally unpredictable result after passing through it, and could even take you backwards in terms of time, or in our case, progression towards playoff baseball.


Rick Hahn called Hendriks’ comeback “perhaps the most thoroughly vetted return to play of any player in certainly my memory,”

If Rick Hahn has early-onset dementia, that explains a lot.


That’s definitely the use of a superlative to cover for not thoroughly vetting. I’m no medical expert, but their vetting process was less thorough than this:

Rick: “Liam, does your pitching arm hurt?”
Liam: “Yep.”


The Hendriks buyout decision will be interesting. It *should* signal the White Sox intentions for 2024, whatever they’re saying now. If they’re serious about trying, they’d buy him out and spend $14m more in free agency. If they’re “trying” but not spending, they should pick it up and let it fade completely off the books in 2025. 

I don’t think the emotions will (or should) factor into the decision much. Buying him out is arguably the best thing for him, after all, since a contender will likely take a flier on him for 2024. 

Augusto Barojas

If they’re realistic and honest with themselves, they won’t spend much this winter b/c it would not likely bring a single additional fan to the park. They’re going to lose between 95 and 110 next year, the only difference a handful of mediocre free agents might make is in that final number. Attendance would hardly be affected at all. If they’re smart, they won’t spend much and will continue to try and trade off what they can apart from Robert, with an eye toward 2026. If they did a balls out effort (for them) and signed 4 or 5 mediocre pitchers, this is still a 90 loss team b/c the team on the field is horrible both at the plate and in the field. I see it as very unlikely they spend significantly coming off a 95+ loss season and being bottom 5 or 6 in attendance. Their “intentions” are a joke, they intended to compete this year.

To whatever extent there is any mystery about what meaningless and pitiful moves they might make this offseason, there is no mystery about what the 2024 results will look like.


Yea next year looks rough…

C – Lee (yikes, probably)
1B – Vaughn (eh)
2B – Sosa? (yikes)
3B – Moncada (yuck)
SS – Anderson (yuck, now, apparently)
LF – Benintendi (eh)
CF – Robert Jr. (woo!)
RF – ?
DH – Eloy (probably hurt)

There are 3 players with a wRC+ over 100. They need almost an entire new roster.

Last edited 1 month ago by patrick

and that’s just half of the fun, now do the pitching staff…


Just wait until we bring Cueto and Valesquez back! “We are competing in 2024”

Augusto Barojas

A pitching staff with a 25th ranked ERA that will lose 3/5 of their rotation, plus 5 relievers that now includes Liam. Why would anybody be pessimistic about that?


Rick Hahn probably “Best I can do is Zach Britton”


Yea the 2025 outlook is better but still a lot of work to be done and 2024 is gonna be just unbearable


RF will definitely be Eddie Rosario. He might be a bad defensive LF with terrible plate discipline and only marginal power, but Kenny watched him play some games against the White Sox and hit a few HR.


Maybe, but I’m pretty sure one of the new Catching prospects they traded for will somehow be the RF. Oh so sox lol


I feel like this is the exact scenario the deferred payment option was created to address. I’d be shocked if the Sox don’t defer, meaning there should be some extra breathing room in the payroll. I can think of several good ways to spend it, but we all know that those available bullpen spots will have Rick Hahn like a kid in a candy store.


These deferred payments are just so Reinsdorf that I figure they’ll be discussed as part of his legacy. “Can’t pay out a full contract if I’m too dead to do it!”


It’s his country club contract, the one that he can say how shrewd he was over brandy and cigars.


He’ll still be here in 15 years.


Well, hopefully Rick Hahn (or anyone else in this FO for that matter) is signing free agents after the season.


Is this an evergreen comment or… the definition of insanity?


It’s a decent FA class for RP, everything else not so much. I don’t see a lot of reason to splurge on the pen though this off-season but it’s there if they can find a way to address the other issues.

karkovice squad

There’s also lots of viable free agent starters and the one thing the Sox have been able to do is find high leverage reliever bargains.


There’s a couple of guys I wouldn’t mind giving 1 year’s to but mostly it’s a bunch of mid-30’s starters who remind me that Keuchel was a dumb signing. 2025 on the other hand with Glasnow, Lauer, Burnes, Bieber, Woodruff, Buehler, Fried…. that’s when you want to have payroll available and not have it tied up with a 35 yo Sonny Gray.


If this front office even has a specialty, it must be splurging on the pen in free agency.


When factoring this awful news along with Cease’s terrible start last night, perhaps moving Cease (and some others) would have been wise after all. As the deadline passed, I was pleased that he was still with the club. After a mere 30 hours post deadline, 2024 already looks pretty grim right now. However, my perpetual cynicism always prevails, and I’m convinced whatever choice Sox made regarding keeping Cease or trading him, it will eventually blow up in all of our faces.


Hendrix gave us 3 innings of 9 ERA post season baseball, lets not even talk about the wasted money on kelley and graveman… and its year infinity of not having a 2nd basemen or right fielder. Hahn still has a job lol

King Joffrey

Insuring pitching contracts sounds like an awful business idea. It sure seems that the human body was not designed to throw 95+ MPH with regularity. I’ve wondered if TJS will ever be considered an enhancement.


It will when they start replacing the ucl’s with carbon fiber


Trayce in CF today, assuming just a day off for Robert. Odd that for some reason sheets is the dh not eloy…. and for some reason grandal is catching again… would of thought he would be cut loose by now but oh well


Robert has only taken 3 games off this year, which is pretty nuts. But I guess that’s what happens when you carry 3 catchers instead of an actual 4th OF.


Rough lineup without Robert and Eloy. Exactly 1 batter with a wRC+ over 100, and it’s just barely (Vaughn 104).

Augusto Barojas

Remillard starting again, is 3 for his last 20. His stock falling fast, I think the novelty is wearing off. The fact that he could not hit much in AAA should translate to not being able to do much in MLB either. Are they ever going to let Sosa actually play like they are doing with Colas? He should be up asap, and we should be done watching Andrus and other nonsense at 2b.


no one was high on remillard it was a victory for him just to have a call up, he is at best a possible utility player but given his overall body of work not sure we will hit enough for that even

Augusto Barojas

There is just no bleeping reason to keep Sosa at AAA. He isn’t going to learn how to adjust to MLB pitching down there. Bring him up already and DFA Andrus already, jeez.

karkovice squad

As much as I find it hilarious that they moved Kopech from being an elite reliever to being a mid starter so they could spend a bunch of money on relievers, I do think the starter experiment is worth it for Crochet depending on how his recovery progresses. Before the surgery, his changeup and slider were looking good enough to face hitters from both sides. It’s worth seeing if he can be stretched out to turn over a lineup at least once.


Crochet stretching out in the minors in the rest of 2023 and 2024 makes sense for the White Sox:

  • delays free agency a year
  • nothing to play for in 2023, might as well start the process
  • if it doesn’t work, or they are competing in 2024, he could transition back to relief for the team

Hendriks will hopefully do whatever he wants.

  • Sox keep him on (due to insurance) and he gets paid for 2024, can rehab with team or with outside doctors. Then he can sign with whoever he wants in 2025, if he wants to play
  • Sox pay him for 10 years, and he can sign a 2 year deal with whatever team he wants. That gives him rehab with them, and hopefully being good in 2025 for them
  • Or he takes the year off and/or retires, becuase he can do whatever he would like, and I wish him the best.

Can’t imagine Crochet would be up for that.


Crochet says he wants to try starting. He needs to stretch out and build innings. Hell, if he comes back this year, go to minors and work as starter. Then even AFL to get innings.


Even with all that, the most he has thrown was 65 innings at Tennessee in 2019 according to bref. We see how challenging it can be for starters in the minors to build up the innings to handle a major league starters workload. And look at the trouble Kopech is having. I don’t know how he envisions this working. But I have a hard time seeing it, especially while coming back from TJS.

Last edited 1 month ago by JazznFunk

I agree it will be tough. But with this team not being competitive, it could be worth part of the effort. Bring him back up when they are competitive.


Very sad whats happened, feel for Liam. The 2023 White Sox season cant end soon enough. Quite frankly it has been an utter crap show from the start of the offseason to now. Zero depth, zero good vibes, zero “bounce back” that meant much to a winning team, zero “tune in” ability, just bad baseball to watch and the over riding fear/fan expectation is nothing will change because of it. Not to mention no one down at 35th and Shields has the stones to say sorry to the fanbase for their failure and mental mind games they’ve played on fans. This isn’t the 80s and 90s anymore, hell even the 2000s got them benefit of doubt with 05 for a time. Want to love this team and I’ll support because irrational fandom usually wins the day, but damn this franchise has turned off so many with their actions and behaviors I’m not sure Jerry understands the damage done. Keep up the good work Sox Machine, really appreciate the content and community here.


Jerry’s investment has increased >100 fold.
What’s the damage to him?

Hurt feelings from fans?


Hence why him acting like that has turned off a lot of fans. Even if Rick and Kenny are gone, no one likes Jerry or trusts him to let real baseball executives to make decisions that benefit the team, just his bottom line


I completely agree.
He’s been an ass of an owner alienating fans for 40+ years.
He knows well what he’s doing and just doesn’t care.
Unfortunately, we still show up or watch games and even if no one did he’d still make his profit.


I just keep remembering this story, which says so much about this org in 2023.

At that time, they had decided to pick up Liam’s option for 2024 even before knowing whether/how well he would pitch in 2023.

Also, they decided to tell Lucas Giolito that they weren’t going to bring him back even though they were still relying on him to help get us to the playoffs over the final 5 months of a 6 month season.