Just more than two years removed from being a fairly reliable closer with the Brewers, Jim Henderson had few options last offseason other than the minor league deal he ultimately signed with the Mets. His fall was due to a decline in performance and injuries, and it left him in a position where he'd have to win a roster spot out of spring training. The 34-year-old had his moments with the Mets -- and continued to strike out batters at a high clip (10.3 K/9) -- but he gave up too many free passes and home runs. Further, a drop in velocity suggests the pitcher may never regain the form he had before undergoing shoulder surgery at the end of the 2014 season. Now a member of the Cubs organization, Henderson is still good enough that he'll likely be able to compete for a major league roster spot, but he figures to be relegated mostly to lower-leverage situations if he manages to make the team out of spring training.
Henderson was released by the Cubs on Thursday, Patrick Mooney of CSN Chicago reports. Henderson was looking to earn a spot in the Cubs' bullpen as a non-roster invitee, however his 9.64 ERA in 4.2 innings this spring wasn't enough to get Chicago to bite. He's struggled since a 2014 shoulder injury, but he'll look to catch on with another team's bullpen.
Henderson agreed to a minor league contract with the Cubs on Friday, Chris Cotillo of SB Nation reports. The right-handed reliever has struggled since injuring his shoulder back in 2014, most recently amassing a 4.11 ERA and 1.8 HR/9 out of the Mets bullpen last season. Henderson's career 11.6 K/9 does create some intrigue, however, so he could put up a good fight for a spot in the Cubs bullpen if he shores up his control.
Henderson has decided to test free agency rather than accept an assigment to the minors. A former closer with the Brewers, Henderson hasn't been the same pitcher since his shoulder injury in 2014. He finished 205 with a 4.11 ERA and 1.37 WHIP with the Mets, but his velocity dipped and his 4.89 FIP suggests he may regress further next season. It's unlikely he will find himself in high-leverage situations again, but it's possible he'll find work in another major league bullpen.
Henderson was outrighted off the 40-man roster Wednesday, ESPN's Adam Rubin reports. He posted a 4.37 ERA in 44 relief appearances with the Mets. While his 25.8 percent strikeout rate was solid, he walked too many hitters and gave up seven home runs in 35 innings. He should provide organizational bullpen depth going forward, but his days of getting high leverage looks appear to be over.
Henderson (biceps) was activated from the DL on Saturday, Matt Ehalt of the Bergen Record reports. Erik Goeddel was optioned to clear a spot on the roster for the returning Henderson, who ended up spending two months on the DL due to biceps tendinitis. He gave up four runs in five innings after resuming his rehab assignment with Triple-A Las Vegas earlier this month but was sharp in his final couple appearances, and manager Terry Collins suggested Henderson could slot back into the seventh-inning role right away.