By CBS 2 Chicago Staff

CHICAGO (CBS/AP) — The Chicago White Sox have agreed to a four-year, $54 million deal with free agent closer Liam Hendriks, considered the top reliever on the market.

Under terms of the deal, Hendriks will get $11 million in salary in 2021, $13 million in 2022, and $14 million in 2023. The White Sox hold a $15 million option or $15 million buyout for 2024. If the club declines the 2024 option, Hendriks’ buyout will be paid in 10 equal installments between 2024-33. Hendriks also will receive a $1 million signing bonus.

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“With the acquisition of Liam, we are adding another premium talent to our core group of players,” White Sox senior vice president Rick Hahn said in a statement. “Liam is someone of outstanding character and makeup who will be an asset both on the field and in the clubhouse. He gives [manager] Tony [La Russa] and [pitching coach] Ethan [Katz] another weapon to make our bullpen even deeper and more versatile.”

With the signing of Hendriks, the White Sox now have four pitchers who finished in the top 10 in the AL Cy Young Award voting in 2020; Dallas Keuchel finished 5th, newly acquired starter Lance Lynn finished 6th, Lucas Giolito finished 7th, and Hendriks finished 9th.

Hendriks, 6-foot and 230 pounds, was named to the All-MLB First Team and named American League Reliever of the Year in 2020 after going 3-1 with a 1.78 ERA, 14 saves, 37 strikeouts, a 0.67 WHIP and just three walks and one home run allowed over 24 appearances with the Oakland Athletics. The A’s went 23-1 in games when he pitched.

Hendriks ranked among the AL relief leaders in saves (2nd), WHIP (2nd), walks per 9.0 IP (2nd, 1.07), opponents on-base percentage (2nd, .187), strikeout-to-walk ratio (2nd, 12.33), opponents OPS (3rd, .405), save percentage (4th, 93.3), strikeouts per 9.0 IP (7th, 13.14) and ERA (11th).

He also has the lowest ERA among qualifying pitchers in Major League Baseball since 2019 at 1.79, and his 0.90 WHIP ranks 3rd. His 5.2 fWAR during that span also is the best among MLB relievers.

Hendriks is just the latest addition for the resurgent White Sox, who also acquired Lynn from the Texas Rangers in a trade for rookie Dane Dunning, and signed free agent right fielder Adam Eaton to a one-year deal. The White Sox also replaced manager Rick Renteria with La Russa and replaced longtime pitching coach Don Cooper with Katz.

Hendriks was on the mound when Oakland eliminated Chicago in Game 3 of their wild-card series.

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He retired Nomar Mazara on a called third strike and let out a howl and pumped his arms before receiving hugs. Hendriks figures to take over for free agent Alex Colomé, who saved 42 games over the past two years.

The White Sox made the playoffs for the first time since 2008 and ended a string of seven losing seasons. They tied Cleveland for second place in the AL Central behind Minnesota at 35-25.

With AL MVP José Abreu in the middle of the lineup and young stars such as 2019 major league batting champion Tim Anderson and ace Lucas Giolito, the rising White Sox are one of baseball’s most promising teams.

They’ve been busy since the final out, trying to push themselves closer to their first World Series championship since 2005.

The White Sox hired Tony La Russa, the Hall of Famer who won a title with the Oakland Athletics and two more with the St. Louis Cardinals, 34 years after they fired him. He replaced Rick Renteria, who was let go in what the team said was a mutual decision.

Chicago also acquired Lance Lynn from Texas, adding a durable frontline starter to go with Giolito and Keuchel. And the White Sox signed outfielder Adam Eaton, who helped Washington win the World Series in 2019, for a second stint.

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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