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Liam Hendriks is still only 24 years old. He owns a career 2.99 ERA in the minor leagues. He was dominant against Triple-A hitters as recently as last year. In so many respects, it seems far too soon to consider giving up on the Australian righty.
Yet, after watching his downright miserable performance in Chicago on Monday night, it's awfully difficult to come away with any conclusion other than this: The Twins need to move on.
Hendriks' latest outing is the lowlight in what's been a tumultuous major-league career. He's had plenty of clunkers across the past three seasons, in which he is 2-13 with a 6.01 ERA, but Monday's dud truly takes the cake. Going against a White Sox club that was averaging a league-low 3.64 runs per game and had scored just seven times in its past six contests, Hendriks coughed up seven runs on five hits and three walks while recording only two outs.
It has always been somewhat apparent from watching him that Hendriks doesn't really have the stuff to be an effective major-league pitcher, but his youth and his superb numbers throughout most of his minor-league career (not to mention a death of appealing alternative options in the high levels) have led many -- including myself -- to urge for the right-hander to see more opportunities.
And the Twins have gave him those opportunities. They let him roll for 16 starts last year despite his consistently poor results. And this season, even though he was coming off his worst season in the minors (he went 4-8 with a 4.67 ERA in Rochester) the Twins called him up here in September so he could try to finish on a high note.
Instead, Hendriks has done the opposite. In what was likely his final start of the season, he was as bad as could be. And the timing could hardly be worse for the Aussie, who will be out of options next year. With the Twins badly needing to improve their organizational talent during the offseason, it's no longer palatable to dedicate a 40-man roster spot to someone who has unfortunately been one of the chief contributors to their pitching woes over the last couple years.
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