In July 2012, the Cubs acquired then-prospect Kyle Hendricks from the Rangers in a move that proved to be a key moment in their first rebuild under Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer.
Nearly 10 years later, could things come full circle?
“It would definitely come as a shock, and I would have to process it all,” said Hendricks of what his reaction would be if the Cubs traded him before the Aug. 2 deadline.
But he also knows it could happen.
“You know things are going to come to an end at some point,” Hendricks said.
With the Cubs in a losing season and rebuilding, Hendricks could be someone opposing teams come calling for over the next month. In fact, MLB insider Jon Heyman said this week he expects there to be a market for the 32-year-old right-hander.
Hendricks has had ups and downs the past two seasons. He also has a long track record of durability and success, especially on the biggest stages, and is under contract through next season.
Hendricks said he hasn’t put much thought into whether he could be traded and is keeping his focus on the field. But it was only a year ago the Cubs dealt fellow 2016 champs Kris Bryant, Javy Báez and Anthony Rizzo at the deadline.
Rizzo was the longest-tenured Cub at the time, a title that now belongs to Hendricks.
“To see all those guys go and that process kind of start, we know we’re in a similar boat this year,” said Hendricks before Wednesday's 8-3 win over the Reds, which improved the Cubs’ record to 29-46.
“But I watched how everybody handled it last year, just handled it like a pro, handled it with respect. They do such a good job from the front treating us well.
“Our focus is really taking advantage of every day and the group we have right now.”
A trade this summer would likely provide Hendricks the opportunity to pitch in a pennant race, something he says he would “try to take advantage of that and have fun in that moment and that opportunity.”
And if he were traded, he would have that 2012 experience to draw on. The Cubs acquired him from Texas when he was in High-A for Ryan Dempster.
“It was really early in my career, something I really didn't see coming,” Hendricks said. “Dealing with that situation and your family, having to move everybody to a different spot, it's not anything I haven't been through [already]."
Even if teams come calling, that doesn’t mean the Cubs would be inclined to move Hendricks. He’s a champion with big-game experience, a mentor on a pitching staff with young and up-and-coming arms, and is on a team-friendly deal.
Those are all important tangibles for the Cubs in their current process.
“At the end of the day, I love it [here]," Hendricks said. "I would absolutely love to stay here."
Outside of a six-run outing against the Braves, Hendricks, who’s set to start Thursday, has had a solid June – including a dominant 7 1/3 shutout innings last week against the Cardinals.
After being prescribed two weeks of rest earlier this month to treat shoulder fatigue, he said he’s back to 100 percent healthy.
“That’s always the start,” Hendricks said. “Now I’m really feeling good executing and in my mechanics.
"It’s every single day bringing the right mental approach, going out there and being convicted to the game plan, convicted to every single pitch I’m throwing, and that’s how the ball is going to be coming out.”
Hendricks said he’s had “great communication” with Jed Hoyer since he took over as team president, crediting Hoyer for being "always willing to talk and give you his honest opinion.”
"I really respect that out of him," Hendricks added of Hoyer. “I respect what he does, and I have the utmost faith in his decision making and the path he's on with us.
"Whatever part of that that I am, I'm just trying to take care of my part."
A path Hendricks looks to continue on with the Cubs — the only team he’s pitched for in the big leagues.
“I love everything about Chicago, man,” he said. “It would take me some time to look back on everything that had happened and process all that.
“I'll just have to see what comes in these next few weeks and see where we end up.”