Perth baseball star Liam Hendriks admits to have been taken aback by the size of his new Major League Baseball deal, but says it hasn’t been an easy ride getting there.
Hendriks signed a $US54 million ($A70 million) deal with the Chicago White Sox last week.
Under terms of the agreement, Hendriks will receive $A14 million in 2021, almost $A17 million in 2022 and more than $A18 million in 2023, with the White Sox holding a $A19.3-million option or $A19.3-million buyout for 2024.
Hendriks also received a $A1.3 million signing bonus.
The 31-year-old’s monster deal comes after a series of impressive seasons with the Oakland Athletics.
The star pitcher was over the moon to secure the deal at a franchise he thinks will be in Championship contention for years to come.
“It’s known as the biggest aggregate annual contract to a reliever ever,” Hendriks said.
“I saw an article and they translated it to Aussie dollars, and I’m like, ‘Oh god’. I didn’t realise it was that extreme.
“Now I have to make sure I’m worth the money. It’s all well and good getting the contract. Now I have to go out and make that contract look like it was money well spent and make sure I do Australian baseball proud.”
Getting to this point has been a tough battle for Hendriks, whose body has taken a physical battering.
He has undergone two knee surgeries, spinal surgery, had his appendix out, had bone chips removed from his elbow and also endured a hip issue.
Henriks said overcoming those setbacks, as well as dealing with the adversity of being cut numerous times, had made him the player and person he is today.
“I’ve been waived five times,” Hendriks said.
“You’re in limbo, you have no idea where you’re going or what’s going on.
“In 2013 a week after my wedding I got waived for the first time by the Minnesota Twins.
“I got put onto the (Chicago) Cubs roster and then waived by the Cubs 10 days later.
“I was claimed by the Baltimore Orioles. I had been at Spring Training for about a week and a half and they signed another guy and got rid of me.
“I went to the (Toronto) Blue Jays, then from there I went to Triple AAA, got traded to the Kansas City Royals in 2014. Then the day before the Championship series I got waived again by the Royals, then claimed by the Blue Jays again.
“Then I got traded to the Oakland Athletics (in 2016).”
Hendriks considered moving to Japan or Korea when he was waived by Oakland in 2018, but he won his way back onto the main roster and performed so well that he had more than a dozen teams come knocking during the recent free agency period.