Orioles Re-Sign Mark Hendrickson

Not that the “if” was ever really in much doubt, but the Orioles have finally agreed on a contract to bring pitcher Mark Hendrickson back to the team. The $1.2 M deal – with a $0.2 M buyout on the $1.2 M option for 2011, which would take the total salary up to $1.4 M – is a bit less than Hendrickson accepted to come to Baltimore last off-season. I looked at Mark’s 2009 with the Birds previously:

“Hendrickson did start the year as a starter, but that didn’t last too long. After 7 he was moved to the bullpen, where he pitched the majority of the year. He did make 4 more starts at the end of the season when the O’s shut down most of their young starters. Hendrickson finished at almost his exact career marks, with a 5.40 ERA in 50 IP as a starter and a 3.44 ERA in 55 IP as a reliever. His 4.32 overall ERA was better than I had expected, though his 4.92 FIP was a bit disappointing. Mark’s underlying stats were pretty much in line with his career numbers. He didn’t strike out to many guys (5.23 K/9) and didn’t walk too many either (2.83 BB/9). His groundball and flyballs rates were normal, though he did give up a fair number of home runs (1.37 HR/9) due to a 12.7% HR/FB rate. Adjusting for that, his expected FIP was 4.68.

Nothing too impressive, but he was worth 0.5 Wins Above Replacement and $2.2 M, which makes his contract worthwhile. Word is that Hendrickson wants to come back to the O’s next season. As swing-men go, he’s not bad. He won’t completely embarrass you as a starter, and is actually pretty effective out of the pen without a big platoon split. If the 35 year-old was willing to sign for a contract similar to the one he had this year then that would be a solid move for the team. I doubt he would start the year in the rotation again though, and that indicates some of the progress the O’s have made.”

As a reliever, Hendrickson’s career stats include a 3.40 ERA, a 6.9 K/9, a 2.4 BB/9, and a 0.62 HR/9. Those stats would correspond to about a 3.38 FIP, though it was around 3.56 just for 2009 (the strike-out rate was down a little). In any case, a FIP in the 3.75 area in 60-80 IP would make Hendrickson worth at least 0.5 Wins Above Replacement, and possible closer to a full win. Even with the depressed free agent market that’s worth $1.5 M to $3.5 M, so the contract is anywhere between a fair deal and a slight bargain. So yeah, I like the move fine enough. Hendrickson adds a lefty to the pen – which is currently missing a prominent one, besides closer Mike Gonzalez – and that’s a role that he should be more effective in. Nothing earth-shattering, but it does help a little without any real downside. Plus, if a contender is in need of some cheap left-handed bullpen help at the deadline, they’ll know who to call.

Let me know how you think Hendrickson will do next season for the O’s here.