NEW YORK — Reliever Liam Hendriks and outfielder Cody Bellinger were selected Major League Baseball’s Comeback Players of the Year on Tuesday.

The pair, both free agents, were chosen in voting by beat writers.

Hendriks, a 34-year-old right-hander, made his season debut on May 29 following treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma. He went 2-0 with one save and a 5.40 ERA in five appearances for the Chicago White Sox, the last on June 9. He went on the injured list with right elbow inflammation and on Aug. 2 had Tommy John surgery, which will sideline him until late in the 2024 season or 2025.

A three-time All-Star, Hendriks is 33-34 with a 3.82 ERA and 116 saves in 140 appearances in 13 major league seasons for Minnesota (2011-13), Kansas City (2014), Toronto (2014-15), Oakland (2016-20) and the White Sox (2021-23).

Hendriks went 8-3 with a 2.54 ERA and a career-high 38 saves in 2021, his first year after signing a $54 million, three-year deal with Chicago as a free agent, then 4-4 with a 2.81 ERA and 37 saves in 2022. The White Sox declined a $15 million option and will pay a $15 million buyout in 10 equal installments from 2024-33.

Bellinger, 28, hit a career-high .307 with 26 homers and 97 RBI after signing a $17.5 million, one-year deal with the Chicago Cubs as a free agent. He went free again after declining a $25 million mutual option and taking a $5 million buyout. He gets a $1 million bonus for being selected a Comeback Player of the Year.


A two-time All-Star voted the 2017 NL Rookie of the Year and 2018 National League Championship Series MVP with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Bellinger was limited to 95 games during the 2021 regular season, when he was on the injured list three times and batted .165. He hit .353 in 12 games in that postseason and had the go-ahead RBI single in Game 5 of the NL Division Series against the San Francisco. Bellinger also had a tying, three-run homer against Atlanta in Game 3 of the NL Championship Series.

TIGERS: Kenta Maeda gave the Detroit Tigers what they were looking for in free agency, a veteran talented enough to bolster their rotation with an approach they want pitchers on model on the mound.

“We think he’s going to both help us win games and influence our young starters,” GM Scott Harris said after Detroit and the 35-year-old Japanese right hander finalized a $24 million, two-year contract.

Maeda joins a projected rotation with pitchers in their 20s, a group that potentially includes Matt Manning, Alex Faedo, Reese Olson, Tarik Skubal, Joey Wentz and perhaps Casey Mize.

WHITE SOX: The Chicago White Sox finalized a $1.75 million, one-year contract with shortstop Paul DeJong and designated outfielder Adam Haseley for assignment.

DeJong can earn an additional $250,000 in performance bonuses for plate appearances: $150,000 for 400 and $100,000 for 500.


The 30-year-old DeJong, who grew up in Antioch and attended Illinois State, played for the St. Louis Cardinals from 2017 until he was traded to Toronto this past Aug. 1. He was released by the Blue Jays on Aug. 21 and signed two days later with San Francisco.

CARDINALS: Kyle Gibson can earn an additional $500,000 in performance bonuses each season in his deal with the St. Louis Cardinals, which guarantees the 36-year-old right-hander $13 million.

Gibson’s contract, announced Nov. 21, calls for a $12 million salary next year and includes a $12 million club option for 2025 with a $1 million buyout. He would earn a $500,000 bonus in any year he pitches 175 or more innings.

Gibson would receive a $1 million assignment bonus if traded. He gets a hotel suite on trips.

Sonny Gray’s $75 million, three-year contract, announced Monday, calls for a $10 million salary next year, $25 million in 2025 and $35 million in 2026, according to details obtained by The Associated Press. The deal includes a $30 million option for 2027 that the team must first decide. If the option is exercised by the team, the pitcher has the right to opt out.

If the option is not exercised by either side, Gray would receive a $5 million buyout payable in $1 million installments each Jan. 15 from 2027 through 2031.

Gray, a 34-year-old right-hander who was the AL Cy Young Award runner-up with Minnesota, receives a full no-trade provision and a hotel suite on trips.

Gray went 8-8 with a 2.79 ERA for Minnesota last season. The 36-year-old Gibson set career highs this year with 15 wins and 33 starts for AL East champion Baltimore.

St. Louis had to fill rotation spots with only right-hander Miles Mikolas and left-hander Steven Matz under contract for next year as likely starters. In addition to Gray and Gibson, the Cardinals also reached an agreement with 36-year-old left-hander Lance Lynn.

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