Kyle Hendricks, Cubs agree to $55.5 million contract extension
The Chicago Cubs entered the contract-extension frenzy Tuesday when they agreed on a four-year extension with right-handed pitcher Kyle Hendricks.
After getting $7.405 million this season, Hendricks will get a new deal that runs through the 2023 season with a club/"vesting" option through 2024.
According to reports and sources, the extension will pay Hendricks $12 million in 2020 and $14 million in each of the following three seasons.
The vesting option, based on 2020 Cy Young Award voting, is worth $16 million. There is a buyout of $1.5 million if the option does not vest.
"I love everything about being a Chicago Cub," Hendricks told reporters in Mesa, Arizona, where the Cubs were spending their last day of the Cactus League season before they head to Texas to open the regular season Thursday. "I love everything about the city and the fans and especially about my teammates in this clubhouse. This is where my focus is at.
"As much as I will revel and be excited about this, our focus 100 percent is on Thursday and this season. That's what I told the guys in here, and I want to be here as long as I can. And hopefully this starts a trend where this group can stay together, in large part. Just for me individually I'm so l blessed to get this amount to play a game I just love growing up as a kid."
Hendricks, 29, has gone 52-33 with a 3.07 ERA and a WHIP of 1.11 over the last five seasons since breaking into the big leagues with the Cubs in 2014. His ERA is the fifth lowest of any active pitcher with at least 100 career starts.
In 2016, Hendricks became the first Cub since 1938 to lead the majors in ERA when he posted a 2.13 mark and finished third in Cy Young balloting.
He started and won the clinching game of the 2016 NL championship series at Wrigley Field, helping the Cubs to their first NL pennant since 1945. He also started Game 7 of the 2016 World Series, won by the Cubs over the Cleveland Indians.
"We're ecstatic to announce that Kyle Hendricks, who has started some of the biggest games in Cubs history, has agreed to a contract extension," team president Theo Epstein said to the media in Mesa. "As I told the players, Kyle is an amazing teammate and a wonderful representative of the whole Cubs organization. He's someone who is incredibly dependable, trustworthy, hardworking, thoughtful. He's someone we have a lot of trust in."
The Cubs obtained Hendricks from the Texas Rangers organization on July 31, 2012 in a trade that sent pitcher Ryan Dempster to the Rangers.
Hendricks will not face the Rangers in the season-opening series. Ace lefty Jon Lester starts Thursday's season opener. Former Rangers Yu Darvish and Cole Hamels will pitch Saturday and Sunday, respectively, after Friday's off-day in the schedule.